What Happens to Your Recycling After You’ve Recycled It?

If you’re a plastic recycling revolutionary, you’ll know that recycling starts at home. But what happens after your recyclable materials leave your home? 

A key component of the recycling process is what happens at the Material Recovery Facility (MRF). A MRF is a facility that receives recyclable materials and then uses a combination of equipment and manual labour to separate and prepare the recyclable materials to sell on. The main function of a MRF is to maximise the quantity of the recyclables processed while producing materials that will generate the highest possible revenues in the market.

After you’ve dropped your recycling off at your nearest drop-off or buyback centre, or had it collected by your local recycling collector, here’s what happens:

Step 1: Your recyclable materials are transported to a MRF.
Step 2: Your recyclables are transferred onto a large conveyor belt at a steady rate.
Step 3: From there, your recyclable materials go to a pre-sort station where workers will manually sort the items into their different ‘types’ (plastic, glass, paper, etc.) and remove any non-recyclable items that have been mistakenly put in the recycling bin.
Step 4: Once the recyclables have been separated into their different types, they are tightly compressed into large packages called bales.
Step 5: These bales are then sold to the relevant markets for use in making new products.

Many people are employed across these five steps and on either side of this process from the buyback centres and recycling collectors to the purchaser of the recyclable materials. By recycling your plastic packaging, you are helping to employ so many South Africans and keep so many companies and organisations in business.

To understand what your recyclable plastic products are turned into, head over to YouTube and watch this video: The Secret Life of Recycled Plastics.

Now that you’ve learned more about the recycling process, share this article with your friends and family to inspire them to join the Plastic Recycling Revolution and commit to recycling their plastic packaging.

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