What happens to my recycling?
Almost all of it will be recycled back into useful resources – providing it has been sorted correctly. Items placed into recycling bins get sent to a material recovery facility, where specifically designed equipment separates the different material types.
- Staff remove contaminants like plastic bags (by hand)
- A rotating drum with various sized holes (called a trommel) separates materials by size
- Fans separate paper and cardboard
- Magnets pick up steel cans
- Optical sensors and jets of air separate plastics
- Eddy currents remove aluminium cans
- Glass remains on the conveyer till the end, where it is collected.
If the wrong types of materials are put into a recycling bin it has a knock on effect for the whole process; slowing it down, increasing facility costs and decreasing the value of the end products.
Doesn’t it just end up in landfill?
Even if a waste collector does not feel the ethical or environmental need to recycle, it is simply not economically viable in most cases to send recyclable items to landfill. Most states have landfill levies designed to make recycling a more desirable option. Recyclables may end up in landfill if they are too contaminated or are placed in plastic bags.
Off the kerb
As well as household items, many other materials can be recycled. Up to 80% of a demolished house can be recycled if sent to a state of the art facility. Used office paper can be placed in a workplace bin, which is then sent to Australian Paper’s Maryvale recycling plant where it is converted into new product, like Reflex White 100% Recycled office paper, which the workplace can then buy back. It’s an effective closed loop system.
- Visit RecyclingNearYou.com.au or your local council’s website to check what is and is not accepted in your kerbside recycling bin.
- When renovating make sure the waste or skip bin company you use sends material to a recycling facility like Bingo Bins.
All Sorted - Answering the Big Recycling Questions Report
This report for National Recycling Week 2015 answers the seven big questions in recycling.