FAQ Page

FAQ Page2024-04-25T19:23:36+00:00


If you think about steel on a can by can basis, a ton sounds like a lot. We recently reported, though, that steel recycling rates have reached an all-time high of 92%. Steel is the most recycled material in North America. The recycling rate for steel packaging is 70.8%, while the rate for automobile recycling is an impressive 94.5%. When we’re looking at percentages that high, those tons of material do add up.

The 5-Step Process for Plastic Recycling2015-04-24T18:41:39+00:00

The 5-Step Process for Plastic Recycling

  • 1. Collection– The recycling facilities gather available recyclable plastic material in their area, such as from roadside collections, special recycling bins, or even directly from industries. In this way, both post-consumer and post-industrial plastic items are collected.
  • 2. Manual Sorting– All plastic items that are collected are then sorted according to the various plastic types indicated by the plastic recycling symbols and codes on them. Unwanted non-plastic materials found in the piles are promptly taken out.
  • 3. Chipping– After sorting, the sorted plastic products are prepared for melting by being cut into small pieces. The plastic items are fed into a machine which has sets of blades that slice through the material and break the plastic into tiny bits, commonly known as regrind or granules.
  • 4. Washing– At this step in the process of recycling plastic, all residue of products originally contained in the plastic items and various other ‘contaminants’ (e.g. paper labels, dirt) are removed. A particular wash solution consisting of an alkaline, cationic detergent and water are used to effectively get rid of all the contaminants on the plastic material, making sure that all the plastic bits are clean and ready for the final step. During washing, the wash tank agitator serves as an abrasive, stripping the adhesive off any labels and shredding any paper mixed in with the plastics. The alkaline, cationic detergent (which is similar to the formulas used in shampoos and fabric softeners) is used because plastic materials have a positive surface charge, and only positively-charged chemical compounds (which in this case are cationic detergents) can properly clean them, and effectively remove dirt and grease from the positively charged plastic surfaces.
  • Pelleting– The cleaned and chipped pieces of plastic are then melted down and put through a machine called an ‘extruder’ in this stage of the recycling plastic process. The extruder shapesthe melted plastic into thin noodle-like tubes. The plastic tubes are then cut into small pellets by a set of rotating knives. The pellets are then ready to be reused and remade into new items.

What About the Bag?

Plastic bags go through the same five-step process as other plastic products. They too are sorted into their various plastic types, washed and rinsed. However, in the case of plastic bags, they are chopped rather than chipped. The chopped shreds of plastic bags are then melted down during the pelleting stage.

What’s Next?

The plastic pellets derived from the recycling plastic process are usually sold by the recycling company to other businesses which would then mold the plastic pellets into an assortment of plastic products for various uses. Some products use a combination of recycled plastic pellets and virgin plastic ones.

Value in Plastic Recycling

Though some people go for fully virgin plastic when available, the demand for recycled plastic products is increasing with the rising awareness of the need to recycle plastics. The value of plastic recycling is undeniable, because recycling cuts down on the need to send plastic waste to landfill. The process creates an avenue to reuse plastic, which is produced from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. Recycling plastic also helps to reduce pollution that arise from the plastic production process as well as the disposal of plastic through incineration and other means (read about the accumulation of plastic debris in theOceanic Garbage Patches).



Among recyclable products, plastic recycling has got to be the easiest, and most important, since it doesn’t degrade like organic materials。 You can eitherfind new uses for any existing plastic bags and containers you may have, or send these plastic products to a recycling plant to be remade into ‘new’ material.

But have you ever wondered just what happens behind closed doors of a plastic recycling plant? Just what takes place to turn something as seemingly indestructible as plastic, into something new?

Here is a quick rundown of what happens to plastic products in a plastic recycling plant. This recycling process is applicable for various plastic items like plastic bottles, plastic containers, plastic pipes etc.



The average American uses 5.57 40-foot trees worth of paper each year, according to The Economist, so it’s worth your time to recycle what you can. Plus, as you can see from this fact-o-gram, your efforts will save a lot of energy. One good way to cut back on the amount of new trees we have to grow to make paper is to choose recycled options. Lots of paper products can be made from recycled fibers including cereal boxes, coffee filters, greeting cards and toilet paper. Even wrapping paper can be purchased in recycled varieties. Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save:

  • 3.5 cubic yards of landfill
  • 17 thirty foot (pulp) trees
  • 380 gallons of oil
  • 9,000 pounds of steam
  • 60,000 gallons of water
  • 225 kilowatt hours

General Information2015-04-24T18:39:27+00:00

General Information

Every year more trash and waste is being generating, however, most of that trash is not being recycled. Recycling paper, plastic, glass, cardboard, metal, electronics and yard waste, these items can be broken down into their original elements and be used to produce new materials. It requires 95% less energy and water to recycle an aluminum can than it does to create a can from raw materials. By breaking down old materials, not only can we reduce the harmful waste we discard into the environment, but also decrease the amount of energy and water needed to create new materials. Here are some recycling and waste management statistics from 2012:

  • If we recycled all of our aluminum cans for one year, we could save enough energy to light Washington D.C. for 3.7 years.
  • Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour.
  • The estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards sold in the United State could fill a football field 10 stories high.
  • The amount of aluminum recycled this year, is enough to rebuild our entire airplane commercial fleet every 6 months.
  • To produce the Sunday newspaper, every week 500,000 trees had to be cut down. That’s 26,000,000 a year.
  • The 38,000 miles of ribbon thrown away last year, is long enough to tie a bow around the earth.
  • The amount of wood and paper Americans threw away last year is enough to heat 50,000,000 homes for 20 years.
  • During 2012, 251 million tons of trash was generated. Unfortunately only 32.5% of the total waste was recycled.

Q. When was paper first made in the US?2018-08-21T15:45:51+00:00

A: The first paper mill in the U.S. colonies was established in 1690 by William Rittenhouse, a papermaker, William Bradford, a printer, and two wealthy Philadelphia businessmen. The Rittenhouse Mill was built near Germantown, Pennsylvania. Although the mill itself no longer exists, you can still visit the historic site on which the mill was located.

Q. When was paper invented?2015-04-24T18:37:38+00:00

A: According to tradition, paper was invented in 105 A.D. by a Chinese court official named Ts’ai Lun. But recent evidence suggests that the Chinese may have been making paper from old fishing nets and other materials as early as 200 B.C.

Q. How much paper and paperboard is made in the US? Worldwide?2015-04-24T18:37:16+00:00

A: Worldwide, about 300 million metric tons of paper and paperboard are produced each year. The U.S. alone produces about 87 million metric tons of paper and paperboard, representing nearly one-third of the world’s total production.

Q. How many paper mills are there in the United States? In the world?2015-04-24T18:36:44+00:00

A: The U.S. is the world’s leading producer of paper and paperboard, with over 500 mills in operation. Worldwide, there are approximately 10,000 paper and paperboard mills in operation.

Q. Will recycling paper help save the tropical rain forests?2015-04-24T18:28:27+00:00

A: The trees that grow in the tropical rain forests are rarely harvested to make paper. The deforestation occurring in the tropical rain forests is mainly due to population pressure. In the world’s under-developed nations, more than 90 percent of the deforestation occurs because of the demand for increased agricultural land and/or firewood.

Q. Why does paper need to be sorted before it’s recycled?2015-04-24T18:27:56+00:00

A: Successful recycling requires clean recovered paper which is free of contaminants such as food, plastic, metal, and other trash. Contaminated paper can introduce impurities and bacteria into the recycling process. Furthermore, different grades of paper – corrugated boxes, newspapers, and office paper – must be kept separate, because the different grades of recovered paper are used to make particular types of recycled paper products.

Q. How many times can a piece of paper be recycled?2015-04-24T18:27:23+00:00

A: A single piece of paper may contain new fibers as well as fibers which have already been recycled once, twice, or several times. Papermaking fibers can typically be recycled 5-7 times before they become too short to be recycled again.

Q. What is paperboard?2015-04-24T18:24:30+00:00

A: Paperboard is the stiff type of paper often referred to as “cardboard.” Paperboard is used in food packaging (such as cereal boxes), and is used to make many other types of products such as shoe boxes, video game boxes, book covers, etc.

Q. Does most of the paper manufactured in the US come from whole trees?2015-04-24T18:24:47+00:00

A: No. Over half of the raw material used to make paper in the U.S. comes from recovered paper and the wood waste (such as wood chips and sawdust) left behind from lumber manufacturing.

Q. How is wood made into paper?2015-04-24T18:25:01+00:00

A: In the papermaking process, wood is first chipped into small pieces. Then water and heat, and sometimes chemicals, are added to separate the wood into individual fibers. The fiber is mixed with lots of water (and often recycled fiber), and then this pulp slurry is sprayed onto a huge flat wire screen which is moving very quickly through the paper machine. Water drains out, and the fibers bond together. The web of paper is pressed between rolls which squeeze out more water and press it to make a smooth surface. Heated rollers then dry the paper, and the paper is slit into smaller rolls, and sometimes into sheets, and removed from the paper machine.

Q. How do paper recyclers take the ink out of paper?2015-04-24T18:25:47+00:00

A: During the paper recycling process, ink is removed from paper in a process called deinking (de-inking). After the recovered paper is chopped up (or pulped), and mixed with water to make a pulp slurry, it is put through a series of washing and/or flotation deinking processes in which water and/or soap-like chemicals called surfactants remove the ink from the paper.

Q. What happens to the ink that’s removed?2015-04-24T18:26:28+00:00

A: Along with clay, short fibers, and other materials removed during the deinking process, ink that is removed from recycled pulp can be burned to generate energy to run the mill, or sold to make such useful materials as compost or gravel for roads.

Q. How much paper to Americans use in a year?2018-08-21T15:45:51+00:00

A: Every year, Americans use more than 90 million short tons of paper and paperboard. That’s an average of 700 pounds of paper products per person each year. Every year in America, more than 2 billion books, 350 million magazines, and 24 billion newspapers are published.

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