Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products.
Recycling collection services vary across the country. There are many factors that influence these services. For instance, whether the area is urban or rural, the type of housing you live in and the local facilities available to process your recycling.
Three Main Recycling Scheme Types:
Kerbside Sort Scheme
Recyclables are sorted into their respective materials on the lorry at the kerbside.
Paper and card are collected in one compartment and the containers (cans, plastic bottles and glass bottles and jars) are collected in another compartment.
Collections where all your recyclables are put into one compartment on the lorry. They are then taken to a Materials Recovery Facility where they are sorted.
What happens at a recycling centre varies slightly depending on how your recycling is collected.
After it is collected by your local council, it is taken to a nearby Materials Recycling Facility (MRF). At the Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), all recyclables are sorted and separated into different types of materials. This is done by hand, machine, or a combination of the two.
The machinery, processes and materials vary from facility to facility; however, the general basis of the process is as follows:
- The recycling bin, box or sack is emptied into the collection vehicle.
- After gathering all the recyclables from the local area, the collection vehicle takes it to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF), where it is loaded onto conveyors.
- The sorting process begins with the removal of incorrect items such as crisp packets and plastics bags. This is the biggest problem when it comes to sorting recyclables as it has to be done by hand. If these items are missed it can clog or damage the machinery and other equipment.
- Vibrating machines separate cardboard and paper from the mix. The different types of paper are sorted by hand and then baled.
- The remaining recyclables continue on another conveyor where steel cans are removed using magnets. A special kind of magnet called an eddy current is used to sort aluminium cans.
- Different types of plastic are identified and separated using optical scanners.
- Glass, if collected in your local area, is the final material left on the conveyor, which is dropped into a large container.
- Once separated they are taken for reprocessing at specialist factories.
The recycling rate:
44.7% in England
47.7% in Northern Ireland,
42.8% in Scotland,
54.1% in Wales.