How Recycling Works
The business of recycling is a global one, and our local actions can have big impacts!
Yes, recycling is eco-friendly - it's smart to conserve resources and reuse materials. But recycling is also an international business that you play a role in. Understanding how it all works can be complicated, but, it can also make you a much better recycler! If you'd like to learn more about this fascinating industry, use these links as starting point.
What is "single-stream" recycling?
- Take a tour of a Materials Recovery Facility: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55kCWbB-J0U
- Popular Science: How It Works: Inside The Machine That Separates Your Recyclables: https://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-07/how-it-works-recycling-machines-separate-junk-type
- NPR: With 'Single-Stream' Recycling, Convenience Comes At A Cost: https://www.npr.org/2015/03/31/396319000/with-single-stream-recycling-convenience-comes-at-a-cost
- Washington Post: American recycling is stalling, and the big blue bin is one reason why: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/american-recycling-is-stalling-and-the-big-blue-bin-is-one-reason-why/2015/06/20/914735e4-1610-11e5-9ddc-e3353542100c_story.html?utm_term=.ec33316287d1
What are we doing wrong?
- USA Today: Recycling is in trouble - and it might be your fault: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/04/20/weak-markets-make-consumers-wishful-recycling-big-problem/100654976/
- Wired: Listen Up America: You Need to Learn How to Recycle. Again.: https://www.wired.com/2015/08/listen-america-need-learn-recycle/
The global impact of contamination:
- Public Radio International: Mountains of US recycling pile up as China restricts imports: https://www.pri.org/stories/2018-01-01/mountains-us-recycling-pile-china-restricts-imports
- Fast Company: China Doesn’t Want Our Trash Anymore, So We Need To Recycle Smarter: https://www.fastcompany.com/40507352/china-doesnt-want-our-trash-anymore-so-we-need-to-recycle-smarter
Content for kids:
- Tour a MRF! Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtjISLNzcc4 or here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh4F3sZNLqA
- EPA: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Resources for Students: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reduce-reuse-recycle-resources-students-and-educators
- National Geographic: Recycle Roundup Game: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/games/action-adventure/article/recycle-roundup-new