After you put your recyclables out on the curb, they begin a circular journey during which they are processed and manufactured into new recycled-content products, which are sold in stores to consumers, who can then repeat the process. Below is a brief summary of the three phases of the recycling loop. For a more detailed description, see http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/rrr/recycle.htm.
Step 1. Collection and Processing
After recyclables are collected at the curb or from a drop-off center, haulers take them to a materials recovery facility, where they are sorted and baled.
Step 2. Manufacturing
Once they are cleaned, separated, and baled, recyclables are remanufactured into new products. Many consumer products, such as newspapers, aluminum and steel cans, plastic containers and other plastic products, and glass bottles, are now manufactured with total or partial recycled content.
Step 3. Purchasing Recycled Products
Purchasing recycled products completes the recycling loop. By "buying recycled," governments, businesses, and individual consumers each play an important role in making the recycling process a success.
To learn more about recycling terminology and to find tips on identifying recycled products, see http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/rrr/buyrecycled.htm.
What happens to my recyclables after I put them out at the curbside?
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