Apr 29, 2013

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What happens behind the scenes of recycling centers?

Most people are aware of the benefits of recycling. They understand the importance of reducing the strain on landfills and they also know that recycling can put a little extra money into the budget. What most people don’t know is what happens once their recycled material hits the recycling centers in Hartford CT.

In an effort to tell you what happens, let’s take a day trip to a recycling center and watch various materials as they make their way back into society.

Plastic bottles:

Plastic bottles are identifies with a code, this code usually appears on the bottom of the bottle. The code is called a PIC (plastic identification code) and only two plastics are useful in the recycling process. The recycling centers in Hartford CT use PIC code 1, which is a plastic called Polyethylene Terephthalate, and PIC code 2 which is high-density Polyethylene. PIC code 1 bottles are those that at one time contained ketchup, water, yogurt, shampoo and salad dressings. PIC code 2 bottles are those that at one time contained milk and juice.

The recycling centers in Hartford CT separate the plastic by PIC code and color; once they are separated they are compressed and made into densely packed bales, which are then sent to processing facilities for further action. At the processors they are ground into tiny shreds, washed and dried. They are then melted down and forced through a screen which turns the liquid plastic into tiny pellets. The pellets are then used in the manufacture of new bottles and they find their way right back onto your breakfast table.


When paper arrives at the recycling centers in Hartford CT it is all jumbled up. It first has to be separated into grades. The grades are such as bond paper from offices, used newspaper and discarded glossy magazines. Once separated, the paper is bundled and shipped to paper mills where goes straight into a pulper. This is a machine that separated the fibers using a mixture of water and chemicals. The recycled paper turns to a mushy material called pulp. The pulp is further processed and cleaned by centrifugal force to eliminate any foreign materials as small as a staple.

The colors that remain are bleached out and the pulp is ready to be made into new paper. The pulp is sent through a paper making machine where it is rolled and stretched to squeeze out the water and then dried by running through large furnaces.

Aluminum and steel cans:

Aluminum cans are shredded and melted; the molten aluminum is poured into ingots which are the basis for new aluminum products.

Steel cans are covered with a thin layer of tin. The cans are separated in to tin and steel, each of which is poured into ingots for further processing into new cans or cars.

Recycling centers in Harford CT take all kinds of materials for recycling including tar roofing materials, glass and non-asbestos insulation, plus much more, contact Calamari Recycling Co., Inc. for further details.

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