Steps to follow when recycling aluminum, plastic or glass



You may already know how important is to focus on recycling, being it glass, plastic or aluminum. The first benefit the world has when people recycle is that the landfill space is reduced, and this only leads to a healthier environment. But recycling not only helps to save landfill space, but it also has an important role in saving energy and resources. If it were to take a look at the statistics, the energy saved in 2015 by recycling materials was equal with the amount of energy 9 million of homes would use. So, it may be the time, you to consider recycling as an important step to take in your life, if you want to help the world become a better place. No matter if you want to recycle aluminum, glass or plastic, you have to follow the same steps.

Collect the recyclable materials

The first step you will have to take, it would be to collect the recyclable materials. You can do it at home, because there are many disposable materials around people’s houses, and instead of throwing them, you can collect and store them for taking them to a recycling centre. Many cities have curbside pickup of recyclable materials, so you will have no difficulties in recycling plastics, glass and aluminum. There are cases when the products have to be separated, so you will have to check the conditions, because the process of aluminum recycling might differ from the one of paper recycling for example. But in the majority of cases the haulers accept mixed materials, so you will not find difficult at all to take the recyclables there, instead of throwing them. In case there is no pick up service close to your home, then you should search for a drop-off center, because the majority of communities have one. When it comes to glass, the acceptable products are jars and bottles. The majority of centers do not accept mirrors, windowpanes, and light bulbs. Also, for plastics products, many recycling centers accept products stamped 1 and 2.

Sort the products

Once you have collected the materials you will have to sort them, in case the recycling center receives only sorted products. In case they accept them mixed, then you should know that at the centers there are professionals who do this. The recyclable materials will be taken to a material recovery facility, where they are separated according to the material type. The glass is sorted according to the colour, but the plastic according to its type. The aluminum cans are put aside from the bi-metallic counterparts. In case you are living in a metropolitan area, then you should know that the center would be able to process over 1000 tons of recyclable materials daily. From this point, the products are sent to diverse reclaimers that want to transform these resources into reusable materials.

Check the reclamation process

During this step, every one of the products is treated differently, because they have to be prepared for being reused. The plastics items are placed into grinders to be cleaned and flaked. Depending on the type of plastic flakes, they can be melted into polymers that will be reformed into pellets, or they will be transported to the manufacturers that will find a use for them. The glass objects are crushed into small pieces when they get to the reclaimer. These small pieces are known as cullet, and the cullet will be placed in a furnace to be melted, or it will be shipped to the manufacturer that will blend it with virgin materials and it will transform the recyclable materials into new objects. Sometimes the molten glass is concerted into glass containers, but the manufacturer is the one who decides the purpose of the glass recycled materials. When it comes to aluminum cans they are melted at 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit, and the molten liquid will be transported to the manufacturers for being reused.

What the remanufacture process implies?

The manufacturers that use recycled aluminum, glass or paper will buy the reprocessed materials from the reclaimer and they will use then as virgin materials to create other products. There are situations when the recycled materials are mixed with virgin ones to manufacture a new product. The process might differ according to the type of product the manufacturer produces.

How new products are created?

Both aluminum and glass are made into new products, and when it comes to cans and bottles, they can be recycled multiple times. Because plastic is a complex material, according to the polymers used to create it, the plastic products are usually recycled into different products than the original ones. For example, if the material comes from a recycled detergent bottle, then the manufacturer will use it to make plastic lumber. The soda bottles are beverage containers and they are considered the most recycled type of material. The pet plastic can be remanufactured in beverage containers multiple times, and this is why it is considered one of the most valuable recyclable resources.

Purchase only recyclable products

The final step depends to you, as well as the first one, because you have the role to purchase products made from recycled materials, and not from virgin ones, if you want to influence the process. If you want to close this loop, then you should buy only recycled products when you have the possibility to choose. If you maintain this requirement on the market, then the recycled materials will be seen as very valuable, and more people will include this process in their daily lives. Also, if you choose to buy recycled materials you will help the planet benefit from all the advantages of the recycling process. The first thing you have to do is to check if the product you use is included in the post-consumer line. You will find on the label the percentage of post-consumer waste, and it will take a few seconds to read it.

These steps are quite simple, and it is important to know them, even if the majority of them depend on the professionals. You have to offer them the possibility to use recycled materials, by taking them to the drop-off centers from your town.