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Understanding Recycling

El Centro, California (NAPSI) - Here’s good news, for a change, about our environment:

  Americans have more than tripled the amount of materials they recycled in the  1980s more than a third of the country’s household waste thanks  to technological advances by the waste industry that collects, sorts and  processes America’s  recyclables.

How It Works

Nearly 10,000 communities nationwide now have curbside recycling pickup,  taking recyclables directly from bins at homes. Many communities use  single-stream recycling, through which all recyclables are placed into the  same bin for collection and sorting.

From there, recyclables arrive for sorting, either at a community transfer  station or a materials recovery facility (MRF). High-tech innovations at MRFs  help automate and streamline the sorting and separating of commingled  recyclables, while dedicated workers oversee the process. Sorting recycled  materials lessens the chance for contamination and better prepares the  materials to be repurposed.

With screens, optical scanners and conveyor belts, MRFs sort materials  with precision. These facilities also employ magnets and electric currents,  called “eddy currents,” that separate aluminum cans from the rest  of the waste stream. Materials are then baled, shredded, crushed or compacted  before being shipped to manufacturers to be turned into new products.

These innovations make recycling more affordable for communities, reduce  the amount of waste going to landfills, cut greenhouse gas emissions and  lessen the environmental impact of household waste. Simplifying the recycling  process also encourages greater participation.

“The items you place in your recycling bin or cart-aluminum and  steel cans, newspapers, glass bottles and jars, plastics, cardboard and  corrugated boxes-do, in fact, make it to a recycling facility,”   explained Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of the National Solid Wastes  Management Association. “Americans who recycle should rest easy that by  recycling they are helping save energy and conserve vital natural resources.

“There are still communities where curbside recycling isn’t  being offered. Consumers who want these services should get in touch with  community officials to encourage more recycling,” said Kneiss.

Learn More

Visit  for further facts and stats on state-of-the-art recycling systems and how  they work.