themes and issues

From bins to plants to shops again… the life cycle of recycled material

Do you know the meaning of this symbol?

If you follow a recycling programme in your town you might have asked yourself what happens to the materials you put in a bin outside the front door of your home to be collected the next day by a lorry and taken away.

Well, broadly speaking, let’s say that the materials collected are usually taken to a recycling plant, where they are sorted out and separated before being sent to the manufacturers who will transform them into new products.

So here we come to the point… what is for example the collected paper transformed into? and what about the plastic bottles, or aluminium cans, or glass bottles that we recycle?

Paper becomes… hear oh hear… paper!!! There is in fact a great demand of all types of paper, from writing paper to newspaper, books, toilet paper, cardboard boxes, and so on.

Glass must be first separated according to colour and is later made into new glass bottles and jars.

Aluminum is a valuable material. Aluminium cans are melted down and made into new cans, while aluminium foil is processed into new aluminium.

Now the incredible news is that the plastic fibres of plastic bottles are used to make… guess what? Carpets, clothing (like the stuffing for ski jackets), car accessories, park benches, lamp posts or new plastic bottles and jugs.


6 thoughts on “From bins to plants to shops again… the life cycle of recycled material

  1. So is the meaning of this symbol that every product can be recycled to produce the same thing?

  2. Not exactly Ryder… sometimes it can be the same object (as for aluminium cans, for example, or glass bottles), some other time it can be something else 🙂
    what matters is that the object can be re-used!

  3. Surely a lot of things that we throw away can be recycled to make new similar objects… But I’m asking… How can we give a contribute to recycle our litter if we follow a recycling programme that tells us to put in the same bin aluminium cans, all types of paper and plastic objects?

  4. So it’s enough to separate organic litter and non-recyclable objects from the other things… Now it’s clear 🙂

    • It’s “enough” in the sense that something is being done and that’s ok 🙂
      But we could also consider the possiblity of recycling more… for example,we could collect our food waste in a corner of our garden to make some compost – an excellent fertilizer for our trees and plants… of course if we have a garden! 😉

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