What does it get turned into?
Recycling an aluminium can saves 95% of the energy needed to make a completely new can! It saves natural resources, energy, water and reduces CO2 emissions.
Recycled materials can be turned into a large variety of products, although they are not necessarily turned into the same product all the time. This is because market demand for recycled materials changes frequently.
Where possible, materials are recycled in the UK, but sometimes it is necessary to send them abroad, for example if the right recycling facilities aren’t available in this country. To minimise the impact of transportation, materials are often put into ships that have delivered products to the UK and would otherwise return to their home country empty.
This is what your recyclables in the Western Riverside area are most commonly turned into:
Paper and cardboard
Depending on the quality, or grade, of paper and the current market demand, paper and cardboard is processed in Kent, the North West of England, Europe and China. It is usually mixed with hot water to turn it into pulp and ink, staples, plastic and glue are removed. The clean fibres are pressed together, dried and wound onto reels ready to be turned into new products such as office paper, newspapers, books and magazines. A small amount of paper is turned into other products such as jiffy bags, loft insulation and road surfaces using a variety of different processes. Cardboard is usually made into new boxes and packaging, but can also be used as animal bedding or even coffins!
Glass bottles and jars
The majority of the glass bottles and jars received are sent away for remelt and turned into new glass products. It is possible to recycle glass indefinitely without it losing quality. Any glass not suitable for remelt will be turned into fine sand by an aggregates company. It can then be used as building sand or, if it undergoes further processing, as floor and wall insulation and lightweight construction aggregate.
Cans and aerosols
Aluminium and steel cans and aerosols are processed in England and Wales. They are shredded, melted and sold on to manufacturers. Aluminium can be used to make new cans, as well as for car and aeroplane construction. Steel cans and aerosols can be recycled into a variety of products including new cans, bicycle frames, pipes and train tracks. Both aluminium and steel can be recycled indefinitely without losing quality.
Food and drink cartons
Only small quantities of cartons are collected at the moment. Cartons are included with other mixed grade paper and cardboard to be recycled. Sometimes, the plastic and foil that is used to keep cartons airtight is used by paper mills to produce energy.
Plastic bottles and clear sacks
Plastic bottles and clear sacks are currently exported to other countries, including Europe and China, because there are not yet the right facilities in the UK. Processing depends on the type of plastic but bottles and sacks are usually cut into small flakes, washed at a high temperature and melted. The melted plastic can be turned into pellets which are used to make items like new bottles, new clear sacks, car parts, home composters or garden furniture. It can also be spun into a fine thread-like material which is used to make clothing such as fleece jackets and hats or fibre filling for sleeping bags and duvets.