Sure we’ve been told time and time again to recycle. But what exactly goes into the process and what does that mean for consumers and the environment? It all starts with us. We are the first ones to use the piece of paper, read the newspaper, open the bottle of wine, and switch the batteries in our car. But after we use them, we should most definitely recycle them so that those products don’t consume and waste space in the landfills that pollute the world we live in. We can do our part by sorting and placing our used products into recycle bins that can be picked up curbside or taken to a recycle facility. Once our sorted products are taken to facilities, they are sorted out even more on conveyer belts to get the items that are not recyclable out of the way like ink, wire, paperclips, debris, etc.
Each product has its own process to get to the final product that can be reusable again. For instance, you drink a diet dr. pepper and throw the bottle in the trashcan. But wait! Before you can it, let’s see where this piece of plastic truly ends up. We’ll call this heavenly dose of refreshment Peppy. Peppy usually begins her journey in your local grocery store, gas station, or even the vending machine staring at you at work.
Once you’ve downed Peppy, place her in the RECYCLE bin, you know, the blue container usually leaned against the trashcan. She may not end up being in her original state in the long run, but she will be turned into a useful product. Recycling plastic uses less energy than by gathering and generating new products from its organic state. Peppy will be taken to a processing plant to be separated into her own type of plastic polyethylene terephthalate (she’s too good to be with the high-density polyethylene groupies like milk jugs and detergent bottles).
She will then be placed in a flotation tank to decontaminate and dry.
Her next process is to be crushed in with a large bundle of her own type (teammates) and taken to a plastic reclaimer, where the incineration begins and is melted and sorted into her raw substance.
Finally her and her teammates will become something useful and may end up back in your house or yard as a lawn chair.
The best process we can do is to use the 3 Rs. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Reduce the amount of products you buy, reuse the products, (like a water bottle) or if it’s just not worth saving, then always recycle. The more we recycle, the cheaper it gets. Running a recycle program actually costs less than to operate a landfill. So the next time you decide to pitch Peppy Jr. in the trashcan, think about how much you’re saving the earth by acting on this initiative. Happy Recycling!