Recycling is the process of taking a product at the end of its useful life and using all or part of it to make another product. Sounds simple enough, right? You put your recycling in a bin to be taken away and poof...it's recycled.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple. Most people don't really know what happens to their toilet paper rolls, milk jugs, and soup cans once they are picked up/dropped off.
In our communities, we have what is known as single stream recycling. Single stream recycling refers to a collection system that allows homeowners to place all of their recycling together in a curbside bin/cart. Be sure that you are only putting acceptable items in your bin/cart.
On your collection day, your bin/cart that you placed at the curb will be picked up by your city's contracted hauler. Once collected, the recyclables will be delivered to the RRRASOC Material Recovery Facility or MRF in Southfield. The trucks empty the recyclables inside the building on the tipping floor.
After the recyclables are at the MRF on the tipping floor, they are loaded into an infeed hopper by a front loader to begin the sorting process. The hopper feeds the recyclables onto a conveyer system that carries the materials to various sorting stations where manual or mechanical sorting takes place. There are many stations to the sorting process where the different types of material are separated from one another.
Baling and Shipment
After the material is sorted, it is loaded into bunkers before being sent to the baler for compacting, except for glass which is loaded directly into trailers from its bunker.
Once a bunker is full, the sorted material is emptied onto a conveyor system and fed into the baler. Finished bales are placed in storage until they can be loaded onto trucks and shipping containers that deliver the baled product to end markets.
Trucks loads of material from the MRF are sold and shipped to facilities such as paper mills, secondary processors, and manufacturers throughout the U.S., North America, and the rest of the world.
Materials made from paper such as office paper, cardboard and newspaper are shipped to paper mills to make new paper products. Aluminum cans are recycled into new aluminum cans. Bales of steel are melted down and made into new steel products. Plastic processors and manufacturers use the recycled plastic to make a variety of new products including plastic bottles and containers, carpeting, and fleece clothing.