What Happens to Recycled Items?

If you’ve ever recycled something (hopefully you have!), chances are, you’ve wondered what happens to the items you recycle. Is recycling an energy efficient process? Is it a benefit to our community? Does it keep our neighborhoods clean and safe? These are common questions that people have about recycling because they don’t know the process. If more people knew where their recycled items went, they’d be more inclined to recycle properly and more frequently. In this blog, we’re going to talk about what happens to some of the most recycled items.



When paper is recycled, it is separated by its type. This includes: white office paper, magazines, and newspapers. The great thing about paper is that it can be compressed into large bales that will make it easier to be transported and broken down. The paper is turned into a pulp after being shredded and mixed with water. As it’s cleaned and mixed, it turns into a slush that’s used to make office paper, newspapers, toilet paper, paper towels, and many other things.


Aluminum Cans

Like paper, aluminum cans are compacted and made into bales for easy transport. After being shredded, they’re melted down and mixed with other materials. It’s then molded into other aluminum items like new cans or foil.



Unlike paper and aluminum cans, glass isn’t always melted or mixed with water. In some places, glass can be crushed and ground into a material called cullet. Since cullet is so soft, like sand, it’s often used to replace sand on sporting fields, in landscaping, brick manufacturing, and paved surfaces. It can even be used on playgrounds!



Plastic recycling starts by dividing plastics by their ID code. After being separated, they’re put in bales and transported to a recycling plant. Like aluminum cans, plastic is shredded and melted. After being made into pallets, it’s sent to companies to be used. #1 PET plastics are often made into carpeting or fleece and #2 PET plastics are made into artificial lumber or composite decking.



Due to the face that electronics waste is made up of several different parts, electronics recycling is slightly more complicated than paper, aluminum, glass, and plastic. The large majority of electronics can be recycled so don’t assume that it’s not worth it! Since electronics are made of so many different materials, they need to be taken apart by hand. Copper and gold can be melted down to be reused, in addition to plastic pieces. Recycling electronics will help to keep hazardous materials out of landfills.


If you’d like to learn more about the disposal and recycling process, visit Oak Disposal today! Serving The Wet Mountain Valley, we’re proud to make a difference in the community by keeping it a clean and healthy place to live for everyone! Not only do we offer recycling services, but we have residential and commercial trash pickup, construction cleanup, roll-offs, and portable toilets. Our highest priority is to provide you with an honest and dependable waste disposal service!