29 Jul What Happens with Bottles and Cans After They Are Turned in for Recycling?

What Happens with Bottles and Cans After They Are Turned in for Recycling?

The first step that a recycling plant has to do as soon as they receive a large number of bottles and cans is begin to separate them. Since the process for recycling aluminum cans is different from breaking down plastic bottles, they must be completely separate from each other. Some recycling plants require that the bottles and cans that are brought to them have to already be separated before they get recycled, others will do all of the separation themselves, usually by hand.

Slide Cover Image RecyclingThe majority of recycled aluminum cans are used to make more cans, aluminum can very easily be melted down in large quantities and be used to create brand new cans. Aluminum is actually extremely convenient to recycle due to the fact that aluminum can be reused over and over again without losing any quality, making aluminum cans the perfect item to recycle. Melted down aluminum cans are so easy to reuse because of the fact that the cans are turned into metal ingots, which can then be sold and used by the companies who produce things like car parts, airplane components, bicycle parts, and many more places too. If something has aluminum in it, there is a good chance that the aluminum came from recycled cans or another source of recycled aluminum.

Plastic bottles will get reused in various ways as well. Recycling plastic bottles are similar to recycling aluminum cans because of the fact that plastic bottles are also melted down and reused to make other things that use plastic. Similarly to how aluminum cans are reused to make more cans, most plastic bottles are actually reused to create more bottles. However, there are a lot more different types of plastic bottles that plastic can be turned into. For example, drink bottles, sauce bottles, laundry detergent bottles, the plastic that is used to make things like fruit containers, and many more uses. Plastic bottles are interesting because the recycled plastic can also be used as a component in the fibers in your clothes. In fact, you might be wearing recycled plastic bottles right now! On top of that, different types of plastic bottles contain different types of plastic, which all produce different things. For example, milk and juice jugs might get reused to create parts for children’s play structures, while plastic bags might get used to create plastic lumber, which is the main component in a lot of park benches.

A large amount of the materials that we use to build things are directly from recycled sources. In fact, an estimated 35% of the aluminum used in building new parts is from recycled aluminum cans. Melting down old aluminum cans and making new cans is said to be 95% more energy efficient than producing new cans from aluminum ore. Recycling is also a lot more eco-friendly because producing new plastic can have harmful byproducts.

It is extremely interesting to think about all of the places that a simple soda can or water bottle might end up after you toss it in the recycling bin or bring it to a local recycling center.

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