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There are many different ways to reduce the amount of waste we create – and it’s not just about recycling.
The first thing you should do is think about how you can reduce the amount of waste you put in the bin. For example, you can use a double sided printer to reduce your paper waste. Or you can re-fill your plastic water bottle to take to the gym. It’s environmentally friendly – and it’ll save you money too!
In years gone by ‘rag and bone men’ used to travel the streets with a horse and cart, collecting unwanted items – and then selling them to new owners. While rag and bone men are a thing of the past, most of us still pass the things that we no longer need on – by swapping, charity and vintage shops, boot fairs and re-making things. These are all different ways of making sure the things that you’ve finished with are reused.
Once you’ve reused everything that can be reused, recycling’s the next best option. Instead of throwing your rubbish in a bin, ask yourself if it would be better to recycle it instead? If the answer is yes, then you can recycle it at home, school or in a public recycling bank (which you should find at your local supermarket).
Once it’s in the right bin, you can be assured that the item is now on its way to becoming a new product.
Most recycled materials will be sent to a depot or sorting plant, like Casepak’s MRF. Here you’ll see that the recyclable materials often arrive completely mixed. We call that co-mingled.
Recycling vehicles will arrive and tip their loads into the facility – there will be piles that include paper, card, plastic and cans. These piles of material will be shovelled onto a conveyor belt and will then make their way through a variety of sorting and separating machinery. At the end of the process all of the materials will have been separated. The newspaper will be in one pile, glass in another, and so on with card, plastic and metal.
This means that your recycled materials can then be sold on to the factories that need the materials to make new things. For example, newspapers will be sold to paper mills – they will clean the paper, remove the ink and then turn it back into new bright white, totally blank paper.
It’s clever stuff! And, with careful treatment, glass, metal, plastic and even roads can all be turned back into their original materials. Which is what makes recycling so important.
Why not watch our video to see what happens to your recycling?