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What Happens to Recycled Plastic?

RedFish came to town and made it so easy to recycle your paper, plastics and metals. Once you toss your recyclables into one of our bins, it’s out of sight, out of mind. But what happens to all of the plastic?

From the moment we come by and pick up your RedFish Recycling dumpster. The recyclables are brought to our facility to sort out the plastics from the paper and metal. The plastics are then sorted into the different grades depending on the type of resin they contain. The most common types are #1 PET (polyethylene) and #2 HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). The plastics are crunched together into large bales (weighing about 800 – 1,000 pounds) that are then banded up and loaded onto trailers to go to the plastic mill.

Bales of Recycled Plastic: RedFish Recycling

Once at the mill, plastic bales are broken up to process the plastics. They are then washed and ground into tiny flakes. The flakes are then melted down and shaped into small, uniform pellets and sent to a manufacturing facility to get made into new bottles and consumer products.

Recycled Plastic Pellets: RedFish Recycling

Once all is said and done, new items for consumers are placed on store shelves. Goods made of recycled plastics include a variety of carpet, garden tools, furniture, insulation, composite decking, and more. Take a look at this article to see how recycled plastics are used in everyday school items.

Plastic is originally made from petroleum, so plastics that aren’t turned into new items, are often sent to a waste energy facility to turn the plastic waste into electricity. Plastic has a high energy value – even higher than coal!

So the next time you are about to toss your plastic bottles and containers in the garbage, think about it. That same bottle could be made again from the same material you are about to throw away. Reduce the amount of petroleum and natural gas extracted from the earth and reuse the materials that we’ve already processed and made into plastic. Recycle.