Recycle Right, Recycle Often, Especially Your Cartons
“It’s easier than I thought!” “It just makes sense.” “Why wouldn’t I want to?”
These were the takeaways from a team of social media influencers that joined us for a tour of Single Stream Recyclers in Sarasota, Florida last week. They learned all about the dos and don’ts of recycling food and beverage cartons – and got to meet the very first carton sorting robot in Florida.
@FunMoneyMom, @mommymusingsblog, @rickontherocks, @mommyneedsabottle, @mrsblinks, @kastilwell, @faithfullyshannan, and @backroadplanet followed John Hansen, co-owner of Single Stream Recyclers, as he walked the group through the journey of a carton once it arrives at his Material Recovery Facility (MRF). In Sarasota, as in much of the U.S., a recycled carton’s journey begins when a hauling company, such as Waste Management, picks up recyclables from residents’ homes and brings them by the truckload to the MRF.
Once they arrive, mixed recycled materials are sorted manually and mechanically on a series of conveyor belts where they are separated into cartons, plastics, paper, glass, metal, and more. That’s where the carton sorting robot comes in.
Once the cartons are sorted into their own bin, they are packaged into large bales which are then sold to fibers mills that process the cartons into paper pulp used to make new paper products like tissue and writing paper, paper towels, and more. Many of these fiber mills are located in the U.S., Mexico, South Korea, and India. Alternatively, they can be sold to companies like Continuus that use the entire carton to produce eco-friendly building materials.
Beyond witnessing the innovation propelling the recycling industry forward, the group also learned a vital lesson on the importance of recycling right. Learning what does and does not belong in the recycling bin, and following those guidelines, is crucial to the success of the recycling industry. If you add non-recyclable materials to your recycling bin, you can diminish the value of your recyclables and breakdown the machinery at the MRF which wastes valuable time, money, and energy. Do yourself, your MRF, and the planet a favor by recycling correctly at the bin every time! As technology innovates and the recycling industry evolves, the rules can change from time to time. Check your local community’s recycling guidelines online and pin the list to your refrigerator to make sure you’re putting the right things in your recycling bin.
Thank you to our team of influencers as well as our partners at Single Stream Recyclers and AMP Robotics for your commitment to keeping food and beverage cartons out of landfills. Check out what our influencers had to say by following #RecycleYourCartons.
In the words of our friend John Hansen, “recycle right and recycle often – especially your cartons!”