Recycling is taking used materials and waste and then turning it into new, useful products. Recycling waste into new products reduces the amount of materials that would have been needed if the product had to be made all over again.
For example, most paper is made from trees, but if old paper is recycled, less trees would be needed. Recycling uses less energy, and helps with pollution control.
There are three important steps for recycling to be successful:
First, the items to be recycled must be collected. Many communities require residents to recycle and collect the materials using large bins or cans. The recyclables are picked up regularly, just like the other trash and waste products.
Second, the recyclables must be sorted into the different materials. The most common materials include paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum, which must be separated from each other.
Third, the recycled items must be processed at a recycling plant. Since there are different materials that need to be recycled, each has its own method of turning the old into the renewed.
Paper, including newspapers, magazines, cardboard, books, and envelopes can all be recycled into reusable products. At a paper recycling plant, the old paper is chopped into tiny pieces. Next, water is added, and the material is turned into pulp. The pulp is then cleaned to remove the old ink. Finally, chemicals are added and the old paper is bleached white. It is now ready to be turned into new paper and other paper products.
Plastic is also a common recyclable product, including water, soda, and other drink bottles; plastic bags, wrappers, and many more items. To recycle old plastic, it is first divided by type, and then ground into flakes or chips. The flakes and chips are cleaned thoroughly, melted down and formed into pellets. The pellets are then used in a variety of ways by many different manufacturers.
Glass recycling also includes soda and other drink bottles, as well as jars, broken pieces of glass, and many other glass products. Before the glass is recycled, though, the different plastic lids must first be separated from the bottles. All of the glass is then cleaned thoroughly, and then crushed into tiny pieces. Next, it is melted and sent to manufacturers who add other substances depending on their use. The glass is then heated again and made into liquid glass.
Finally, aluminum is another material recycled quite often, which also includes soda and juice cans, tomato cans, and all other products made from aluminum. At a metal recycling plant, a giant magnet is used to separate the steel cans from the aluminum cans. A magnet will not attract aluminum so it is easy to separate the steel from the aluminum cans. The cans are then washed, crushed, and condensed. A hot furnace is used to remove the labeling, melted, made into bars, and finally flattened into sheets.
Two more things must take place for recycling to be successful. First, people must choose to recycle the things they use, and second, when buying things, it is helpful that people purchase items made using recycled materials like paper, plastic, glass, or aluminum.
In summary, three steps for recycling include collecting, sorting, and processing. Each material also has several more steps that must occur in order for each it to be reused gain as a useful product.
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