What Are The Steps In The Recycling Process?

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by AdobeStock/photka

How do recycling centers separate materials? What are the steps in the recycling process? Learn the answers to your burning questions about recycling as we dive behind the scenes at a recycling facility.

Every other Monday, I wheel a 64-gallon jumbled mess of milk jugs, shredded paper, and refried bean cans to the curb — then righteously rub my hands together, knowing I’ve done my part to save the planet. An A+ performance. I know the contents of my bin will magically be reborn as cardboard boxes, maintenance-free park benches, and rebar to build new cities. But after trailing my bin to a recycling facility, I learn that my performance is, at best, a D. I’m with Bill Keegan, president of Dem-Con Companies, a third-generation family-owned waste and recycling management firm serving Minneapolis-St. Paul since the 1960s. We’re joined by Jennifer Potter, a community outreach coordinator.

Dem-Con welcomes thousands of visitors every year. The company has an interactive trailer it hauls to schools and festivals, along with virtual reality glasses that allow kids and adults to virtually step into the recycling process. Its goals are to help build a culture that recycles naturally and automatically, and to trigger a feeling of unease when people don’t recycle.

Behind the Scenes

Keegan, Potter, and I don blaze-yellow vests, hard hats, and safety glasses and head into the facility.

  • Updated on Nov 29, 2022
  • Originally Published on Mar 3, 2021
Tagged with: lithium battery, newspaper, paper, plastic, recycle, recycling, reuse, salvage
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