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How To Know Which Materials Are Suitable For Recycling?

recycled materials

How To Know Which Materials Are Suitable For Recycling

Have you ever wondered about the ins and outs of recycling? Do you know about the material that can be recycled in your area? You must find that out if you don’t know, as It can help you ensure that your business’s waste is diverted from landfills and recycled correctly. Similarly, knowing what can’t be recycled is also helpful.

By gaining the proper knowledge, you can ensure that anything you sort and put in your recycling container is sent to the recycling center and eventually turned into something new. Let’s explore what can be recycled curbside and what is not classified as recycling material.

What Can be Recycled Curbside?

You can recycle a wide range of items through your curbside recycling program. This includes:

  • Common materials like paper and glass
  • Less obvious ones, like most metals and even food waste
  • Items such as newspapers, magazines, cardboard
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Rigid plastic products and metal cans (such as tin, aluminum, and steel)

It’s important to note that recycling guidelines may vary depending on your city or municipality’s restrictions and participation in external programs, such as food waste recycling.

What Can’t Be Recycled at the Curb?

Knowing what is not accepted in your curbside recycling program is equally crucial. Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive or universally applicable. The materials that can’t be recycled may vary depending on various factors specific to your city.

To be sure, reach out to your local authorities for confirmation on which items can be recycled, how to sort your recyclables properly, and whether there are fines for improper recycling practices at businesses and commercial locations.

Here’s a list of materials that can’t be recycled through the regular curbside recycling program:

  • Polystyrene, also known as expanded polystyrene (EPS), which is a type of plastic
  • Carrier stock, the paper wrapping found around packs of drink cans
  • E-waste, which refers to electronic trash
  • Broken ceramics, light bulbs, and mirrors
  • Construction and demolition (C&D) debris, like concrete and plasterboard
  • Greasy paper, like oil-soaked paper plates and pizza boxes
  • Film plastics, such as shrink and bubble wraps or plastic bags
  • Used paper towels, tissues, and diapers

3 Factors That Influence Whether Something Can Be Recycled

While putting goods out for recycling may seem nice, those objects are not genuinely “recycled” until they pass the whole recycling system. Three criteria influence whether or not an object may be recycled. They are:

  • Collecting

The recycling collection has come a long way! You used to have to separate paper, cans, and glass at the curb. But now, things have changed. The commingled collection is available everywhere. It means you don’t have to separate your recyclables anymore. You just put everything in a container, bag, or cart for pickup.

If your home or workplace is in a high-rise building, you can use a trash chute to get rid of debris and waste. These chutes form a large tube that travels from the top levels of the structure to a central dumping place. As a result, anyone on any floor may easily dump their garbage and rubbish into the chute’s apertures to dispose of them.

This new way of collecting recyclables has made the process more efficient. The sorting that you used to do yourselves now happens at a processing facility called a Material Recovery Facility (MRF). These facilities use machines to sort the recyclables based on their form, size, and material type.

  • Processing

At the MRF, various machines like conveyors, disc screens, optical sorters, and magnets are used to separate different types of recyclables such as jugs, plastic bottles, cans, glass, cartons, fiber, etc.

These machines create distinct streams of commodities from the mixed recyclables. Before deciding to accept a material for processing, the operators of the MRF consider a few essential criteria. Some of those are:

    • Is machinery designed to process this material?
    • Is the machine able to identify or record this stuff?
    • Can machines handle the sorting process for these goods safely without posing any risks to the personnel or the devices themselves?
    • Whether the sorted materials will be sold?

And sometimes, the authorities at MRF can also analyze whether it is possible to sift through the materials and still make a profit. A material that can be recycled has to pass all these criteria. This also means that some materials may not be accepted for processing.

  • Remanufacturing or Selling

Once recyclables are sorted at the curb, they are often baled and sold on the open market. Recycling materials play a crucial role in the global economy. Various commercial and economic factors help determine what can be recycled. Manufacturers consider the following questions before accepting any recycled raw material:

    • Does the material meet the same quality and performance standards as virgin material?
    • Can energy be saved by using recycled materials instead of raw resources?
    • Is the material source free from contaminants?
    • Can the material be sorted and processed efficiently and at a low cost?
    • Is there a consistent supply of the material that can be used as a raw material?

These aspects shape the decision-making process in determining the material that can be recycled.

Author Bio:

Erich Lawson is passionate about saving the environment through effective recycling techniques and modern innovations. He works with Compactor Management Company and writes on various topics related to recycling, including tips and advice on how balers, compactors and shredders can be used to reduce industrial waste. He loves helping businesses understand how to lower their monthly garbage bills and increase revenue from recycling.