4 Highly Recyclable Materials To Know About

Green Earth — Portland, OR — Portland Disposal & Recycling

As businesses strive to reduce their environmental footprints, they must consider their input and output sources. Fortunately, some materials are more easily recyclable than others. Here are four highly recyclable materials that businesses should consider for recycling to reduce their environmental footprint.

1. Glass

Glass is an exceptional recyclable material that plays a crucial function in various economic sectors and has numerous positive environmental effects. Water pollution and other environmental contaminants can be drastically reduced through recycling glass, which also requires much less energy than producing new glass from scratch. Glass may be recycled indefinitely without degrading in quality or purity.

Although the glass recycling process is straightforward, it is highly selective because only certain hues of recovered glass are in high demand. Recycling plants sort cleaned glass by color before introducing it to the melting process. One ton of recycled glass can conserve 42 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy consumption and two cubic yards of waste-yard space.

Several common items use glass as the primary material. Glass containers are popular in food and drink packaging. In contrast, fiberglass insulation and synthetic sand primarily use cullet in their production.

2. Steel

Steel’s fundamental components of iron and carbon and its strength make it feasible to melt and re-cast without sacrificing any of these important ingredients, which makes it one of the most recycled materials globally by weight.

Vehicles, containers, home appliances, and structural components contribute to the steel scrap supply. Steel from these scraps can be melted down and recast into a new form or product in electrically heated arc furnaces or basic oxygen ovens. Compared to producing new steel, recycling steel results in a 75 percent decrease in energy consumption.

Due to its durability and longevity, steel is frequently utilized in construction projects like homes, stores, and workplaces.

3. Cardboard

Cardboard, which includes corrugated cardboard and paperboard, consists of wood pulp. Corrugated cardboard has at least three layers, two paperboard layers on the inside and outside, and a wavy layer in the middle for reinforcement.

Paperboard is the primary material in shoe boxes and the bulky paper covering on retail product packaging. In particular, supermarkets can produce up to 20 tons of cardboard garbage monthly.

The United States uses over 400 billion square feet of cardboard annually to ship more than 90 percent of all goods. Recycled cardboard requires a fraction of the water needed to produce new cardboard. It takes about three tons of trees to make one ton of virgin cardboard.

Cardboard can only be recycled if it is clean and free of any contaminants. Food grease or a covering like wax can contaminate recyclables, which makes recycling cardboard impossible. The recycling rate for cardboard and paperboard made from old corrugated containers (OCC) is 67.5%, and the maximum number of times it may be recycled is seven.

Each ton of recycled cardboard keeps nine cubic yards out of landfills. If you recycle, you can reuse the cardboard to make paper towels, cereal boxes, shoe boxes, and more.

4. Plastic

One of the most commonly recycled types of plastic is polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. Because it can take up to 500 years to degrade PET polymers in a landfill, recycling is preferable for resource conservation and carbon footprint reduction.

About 5.5 billion pounds of PET plastic jars and bottles are produced annually in North America, yet only about 250 million pounds are recycled. We don’t recycle more mainly because of problems with garbage sorting and contamination in municipal waste streams. Approximately 35 billion plastic bottles are discarded annually in the United States.

According to AZoCleantech, two-thirds of the energy needed to produce new plastic from PET is conserved when recycled, which helps protect scarce resources and lowers emissions. Recycled PET can make PET packaging, industrial strapping, and automotive components, among other products.

If your business deals with these materials, a waste disposal company can help you maximize your recycling capabilities. Contact us at Portland Disposal & Recycling, Inc., for commercial waste disposal.

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