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What happens to your Recycling?

Ever wonder where your recyling goes or what it becomes, after you've thrown it in your container or bank? Follow the trail below and find out below! 

Paper

Where to Recycle: Household Collections, Paper Banks or Recycling Centres

What happens: paper is pulped and used to make new paper materials including newspapers and magazines. It can recycled into fresh new paper in just 7 days!

Find out more about what happens to paper collected in Devon in this video.

Glass

Where to Recycle: Some Household Collections or Recycling Centres

What happens: glass is sorted into different colours, washed and broken into small pieces called cullet. It is then reformed to make new glass bottles and jars. Recycling just one bottle can save enough energy to power a TV for 20 minutes. 

Find out more about what happens to glass collected in Devon in this video.

Textiles

Where to Recycle: Some Household Collections or Recycling Centres

What happens: good quality textiles are reused and sent to African markets and lower quality textiles are turned into rags and cloths for cleaning. Learn to love your clothes, with information on repairing and caring for them here

Find out more about what happens to textiles collected in Devon in this video.

Plastic

Where to Recycle: Some Household Collections or Recycling Centres

What happens: plastic is sorted into different grades and then sent to the correct reprocessor where it is turned into new plastic items such as bottles, fleeces and food containers.   

Cans

Where to Recycle: Some Household Collections or Recycling Centres

What happens: cans are melted in a furnace and then used to make new metal products such as tins, cans and even aeroplanes

Cardboard

Where to Recycle: Most Household Collections or Recycling Centres

What happens: cardboard is pulped and then reprocessed into corrugated card or cardboard boxes.    

Electrical Items

Where to Recycle: Some Household Collections or Recycling Centres

What happens: electrical items are stripped down to their component materials e.g. plastics and metals. These are then reprocessed into new items depending on the grade of material. Typical items include traffic cones, new steel products or even new circuit boards.

Food Waste           

Where to Recycle: Some Household Collections or Recycling Centres

What happens: garden waste and food waste are treated differently depending on whether they are collected separately or together.

Garden waste that’s collected by itself is sent for processing at a Windrow composting facility.  This involves piling organic matter into long rows and turning it frequently to oxygenate and help with the decomposition.

Food waste is that’s collected by itself is sent to an anaerobic digestion facility where it heats to high temperatures and decomposes with the absence of oxygen.  

Food and Garden waste that’s collected together is sent for composting at and in vessel composting (IVC) facility. The waste is shredded and kept in a large container for 2-4weeks where high temperatures kill the bacteria. It is then left to decompose for a further few months.

Click here for helpful advice on composting at home.