A Summary About Recycling
Understanding how recycling happens

Recycling is the method of collecting and processing materials (that would otherwise be thrown away as rubbish) and transforming them into new products. Apart from the fact that recycling can benefit your home, it’s also advantageous to the environment.

Steps to Recycling Materials

Did you ever wonder what happens to the objects that you toss into recycling bins? Here’s a look at how glass, plastic, metal and paper are recycled. Recycling includes the three steps below, which create a continuous circle, which is represented by the renowned recycling symbol.

Glass

People have been using and reusing glass for thousands of years. Dating as far back as 3,000 years ago, Egyptians used glass to make jewellery, cups and other items. Made from sand, soda ash and limestone, glass is one of the easiest materials to recycle. So how does it work? Below are the stages of recycled glass production:

  • Glass is first disposed through the door to door glass collection system or the bring-in site
  • Once collected, it is sorted
  • It’s then cleaned and crushed into what is called cullet
  • The cullet is brought to the manufacturing plant and mixed with more sand, soda ash and limestone
  • The mixture is heated in a furnace and turned into a liquid
  • This liquid is then poured into moulds and shaped into new glass products such as bottles, jars etc.

Plastic

Unlike glass, which is made entirely of natural elements, plastic is composed of man-made and raw materials, including petroleum and crude oil. So, here’s how plastic is recycled:

  • Plastic is first thrown in the green bag or bring-in site
  • It’s then brought to the recycling plant where it is sorted into different plastic types
  • The plastic is then cut into small flakes which are separated in a flotation tankThey’re then dried and melted into a liquid
  • The liquid is cleaned even further, before coming out in long strands
  • The strands are chilled and chopped into capsules
  • They then make their way to manufacturers who use them to make new products

Metal

Metal can be recycled quickly and easily. For instance, making an aluminum can from recycled aluminium uses 96% less energy than it does making one for the first time. Here’s how it’s recycled:

  • Aluminium or metal cans are thrown in the green bag or bring-in site
  • They’re then moved to the recycling plant, shredded and melted
  • The melted aluminium is chilled and shaped into block called an ingot
  • The ingot is made into sheets and used to make new products

Paper

Paper is made of tiny fibres and since such fibres become weak by time, paper cannot be recycled forever. When paper is recycled it’s also further separated into categories, namely newsprint, white paper and cardboard. Below is the recycling process for paper:

  • Paper is first thrown into the green bag or bring-in site
  • It’s sorted and taken to the pulping facility
  • It’s then soaked and heated in huge vats, turning it into pulp
  • Chemicals in the liquid separate the ink from the paper
  • The pulp is screened and cleaned to remove glue, other debris and any remaining ink
  • The pulp is refined and beaten to make it ready to become paper again
  • The pulp is fed into a machine that turns the pulp into sheets
  • The sheets are rolled and dried and ready to be reused

Recycling is something that needs to be practised not only because of its eco-friendliness, but also because it’s something that doesn’t take much effort from people’s part. If you would like to know more about the processes Greenpak endorse and our latest projects, click here.

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