How Does Recycling Work?
How It All Works
- When you place your recycling cart at the curb, our truck comes and collects it along with your neighbor’s recycling.
- Once our truck is full, we drop off the recyclables at a local Materials Recovery Facility (MRF).
- The MRF sorts and bales your recyclables by material type.
- The MRF sells the bales to companies that will turn them into new products.
How Did Recycling Change?
Step 4 of the process has been disrupted by China, who had been historically taking in most of the recyclables the U.S. exports, by enforcing stricter importing regulations for recyclable materials and not accepting some materials altogether. This has caused MRFs to send less contaminated material to China and to look for other places to sell the recyclables to, both domestically and overseas. Consequently, prices of processing the materials have drastically increased. The focus has shifted from recycling more to recycling better.
Is Recycling Still Worth It?
Yes! Your plastic bottles, metal cans, paper, and cardboard are still valuable materials. The recycling industry has gone through downs like this before and it will rebound, just like is has in the past. New facilities and technologies will emerge domestically that will be able to handle the material we can no longer export.
What Can I Recycle?
Clean and empty plastic bottles and jugs, aluminum and steel cans, cardboard boxes, and paper. Click here for our updated recycling guide. Remember when you’re in doubt, throw it out…and maybe think of how you can avoid that waste in the future.