Thursday, September 20, 2018

How Empty is Empty?

Recycling should be a process in which clean, empty recyclable materials are sorted and baled then sent to the world market for reuse. Contaminants, however, prevent this process from not only going smoothly, but sometimes prevent it from going on at all.

Some commodities, such as metal, glass and sometimes even plastic, go through processes where small amounts of debris or contaminants don’t adversely affect the final product.

Small amounts of food or liquid left in soda bottles, vegetable cans or pickle jars will most likely not be at a contamination level that would render the whole load of recycling unusable.

Other types of recyclable materials like paper and cardboard go through processes where they are mixed with water and churned up to make slurry. The slurry is then flattened into sheets and made back into different types of paper products.

In these commodities, even small amounts of food or grease can be the reason whole truck loads are turned away from recycling facilities. It is also the reason that the quality and integrity of the raw, recycled material is dramatically lessened.

Although dumping or rinsing recyclables before they go into your recycling bin is a little more work and can become tiresome, it can very easily be the difference between whether that item gets recycled at all. In order to ensure that your time isn’t wasted, empty your recyclables and give them a quick rinse.

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