What is Recycling?
Sorting of recyclable materials is the key to successful modern waste management. Recycling involves reprocessing materials into new products, prevents useful resources being wasted, reduces the consumption of raw materials , reduces energy usage, and greenhouse gas emissions compared to virgin materials. Recyclable materials originate from a wide range of sources including the home and industry. They include glass, paper, cardboard, aluminum, steel cans and hard plastics such as soft drink and milk containers.
Benefits of Recycling
Recycling reduces the (a) inputs (energy and raw materials) to a manufacturing production system and (b) reduces the amount of waste going to landfill. Some materials like aluminum can be recycled indefinitely as there is no change to the materials. Other recycled materials like paper require a percentage of raw materials (wood fibres) to be added to compensate for the degradation of existing fibres. This reduces the environmental, social, and economic costs of manufacturing.
Steel Can Recycling
Steel cans are amongst the world's most recycled materials and very easy to recycle by being separated magnetically from other recyclables.
Aluminium Can Recycling
An aluminium can is 100% recyclable. Every time it is recycled it saves enough energy to watch TV for three hours (compared to mining and producing a new can).
Glass Bottle Recycling
Glass can be recycled indefinitely as its structure does not deteriorate when reprocessed. Glass is sorted into 3 color categories; flint(clear), amber and green.
Paper / Cardboard Recycling
Different grades of paper are recycled into different new products. Old newspapers are usually made into newsprint, egg cartons, or paperboard. Old corrugated boxes are made into new corrugated boxes or paperboard. Office paper can be made into almost any new paper product: stationery, newsprint, magazines, or books. Paper can only be recycled a finite number of times due to the shortening of paper fibres making the material less versatile.
Plastic Bottle Recycling
Plastic recycling recovers scrap or waste plastics for reprocessing into useful products. This could mean melting down polyester soft drink bottles then spinning the polymer into fibres. Plastics are sorted according to their resin identification code. PET, for instance, has a resin code of number 1.