Did you know that the U.S. produces over 292 million tonnes of municipal solid waste each year?
Yep, that’s a lot of waste. From trash and garbage to plastics and glass, that’s a lot of materials out there. Have you ever wondered how it gets reused?
American cities and towns have taken recycling seriously to fight against the sheer volume generated each year. If you’ve wondered about the way to recycle materials used by municipalities each year, keep reading.
Collection and Distribution
The first step in the mechanical recycling process is to collect all the post-consumer materials. Towns and cities do this through the local government or private businesses.
Many consumers also choose to take their plastics to communal collection points such as designated recycling centers. This helps in significantly collecting all the materials needing recycling.
Sorting and Organizing
The next step in the process is to sort through the various materials. For example, plastic needs segregation from other materials. And then, the different types of plastics need to be segregated further for optimal processing.
Machines for efficiency carry out this step.
Washing is a critical step in the recycling process. Why? Well, contaminants in the materials can ruin the whole batch of plastics being recycled. Thus, labels, adhesives, food residue, and dirt must be thoroughly washed off.
Mechanical shredders then work to shred the plastic and sort material into smaller components. These smaller components will be processed even further for reuse down the line. Plastic shredding is thus essential to the recycling process.
Sometimes this can be in different applications or completely recycled.
Identification and Separation
Plastics are segregated based on their quality, class, density, and more. Even factors such as thickness are taken into account.
How is this done? Cities and towns use the ‘air classification method to determine plastic thickness. The larger pieces with more density stay towards the bottom, whereas lighter grades of plastic will swim up to the top.
And we’re at the last stage of the recycling process! Here, manufacturers will take plastic shreds and transform them into a usable product. The plastic is typically melted and crushed to form plastics.
This is the form it reaches the production facilities. Plastic pellets of this sort are easily reused in various applications down the line.
Do Your Part Today by Choosing to Recycle Materials
It is truly unique that cities and towns have taken up recycling so seriously. All our efforts to recycle materials have gone a long way in combating environmental degradation and promoting sustainable consumption.
However, we can still go a long way in improving our recycling and reusing efforts. Homeowners can make a significant impact by choosing to take all their recyclables to the nearest center! And that’s where each consumer comes in.
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