Columns/Opinion, Vaageesha Das

I’ve bin recycling, have you?

What happens during the recycling process?
We are always told that recycling helps the planet and that we should recycle whenever we can.
It is the “green” thing to do.
What some of us don’t know is, what happens after we place our used items in recycling bins.

The materials in recycling bins are first collected and then they are sent to a recovery facility.
At the recovery facility, the items are sorted, cleaned and then they are processed so that they can be manufactured.
There are tons of items that go through the recycling process. There are different ways for each item to be cleaned and recycled.

For example, paper is sent to a recycling plant, where it is washed in soapy water to wash the ink out.
The plastic film, staples, and the glue are also taken out.
Then, different materials are added to water and this is where a slurry is created. The slurry is used to create different paper products like newsprint, cardboard or office paper.

Another example would be plastic. Plastic is first sorted into its different colors and types and then it is filtered for any contaminants.
Then, it is chopped. After it has been chopped, it is melted into pellets or it is made into fibers.
The materials can be used to make fabrics, construction materials that are actually very durable, furniture or insulation.

Then, of course, these items are sold and purchased to be reused again and again.
Recycling is green because the items that are being recycled are being made anew or into something else instead of taking up space in a landfill.