What happens to your recycling?
Materials recovery facilities
Once the recycling truck is full, it is taken to a sorting facility called an MRF – or Materials Recovery Facility. Here your recycling is sorted into different recycling categories.
High-tech sorting machines
All of the recyclables are loaded onto a conveyor belt, where they begin their long journey through the MRF. The MRF operates using a combination of high-tech sorting machines. The machines cannot sort incorrect items such as bags of rubbish, bagged recyclables and food scraps. These need to be sorted by hand, which is difficult and time consuming. If you put your recycling in plastic bags, it will end up in landfill because it can't be easily sorted and recycled.
Recycling processing facilities
Different machines sort different types of recycling, such as paper, cardboard, steel, aluminium, plastic and glass. The sorted materials are transported to different processing facilities so new products can be made from the recycled materials.
- Paper and cardboard are pulped and used to make many different products, such as newspapers and sturdy cardboard boxes.
- Steel and aluminium are melted down and turned into new products like soft drink cans and other containers.
- Plastics are shredded and turned into a range of items, including polar fleeces and wheelie bins.
- Glass is melted down and made into glass bottles, and some of it even gets used for making road surfaces.
Recycling the right items in the correct way will ensure that the process is as efficient as possible.
Check out our top five recycling tips to make sure you're doing everything you can to reduce landfill, conserve energy and resources, and minimise greenhouse gases.