How 3 Recyclables Are Handled at The Recycling Plant

Recycling Plant

You sort your recyclables and you faithfully get them to the blue bin or the recycling center.  What happens next?  Here are the way 3 different recyclables are treated.


Glass recycling isn’t new.  More than 3,000 years ago Egyptians were using glass to make jewelry, cups and more – and using it more than once.  Recycling glass is easy.  Here are 3 steps that put it back in your cupboard as a new product.

  • Glass is sorted by color and then sent to a processing facility where it is cleaned and crushed into a product called cullet.
  • The cullet is brought to a manufacturer where they are mixed with more sand, soda ash and limestone, the building blocks of glass.
  • The mixture is heated until it become liquid. The liquid is poured into a mold and a new glass jar or other glass product is formed.



Plastic is a manmade material that contains petroleum and crude oil, but it can be recycled into many different products.  Here’s how.

  • Plastic is inspected and washed. The recyclable plastic is then washed again and chopped into tiny flakes.
  • A flotation tank is used to separate the flakes and they are then dried.
  • Finally, the flakes are melted and fed through a screen – which cleans them even more. They come out of the screen in long strands that are then cooled and cut into pellets.  The pellets will be used to make new products.



Paper becomes more paper.  And, since Americans use almost 750 pounds of paper a year – or a huge 187 pound of paper for the entire population, you can see how important recycling is.  Here’s how it works.

  • Paper is turned back into pulp by being soaked and heated in huge vats where chemicals separate the ink from the paper.
  • The pulp is screened and cleaned again to get rid of any remaining ink, glue or other debris.
  • The pulp is further refined and beat until it is fed into a machine that forms sheets of paper. They are rolled and dried – and ready to be used again.


An important note – especially for businesses:  In today’s world of personal and business identity theft, we are all encouraged to shred sensitive documents.  Unfortunately, that bag of shredded paper may not make it to the recycling plant simply because it is more expensive to handle.  Since businesses use the biggest amount of paper, they can both protect themselves and recycle by using a professional, on-site phoenix shredding company.  These companies provide secure storage then come to the business and shred on-site.  Ask and you’ll find that most have arrangements with recycling centers to make sure your paper is used again.