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FREQUENTLY ASKED RECYCLING QUESTIONS

Q. What is recycling?
Q. Why should I recycle?
Q. What materials can be recycled?
Q. What materials cannot be recycled?
Q. Where does all this stuff go after we put it in the bins at the recycling depots?
Q. What does this stuff get made inton?
Q. Who makes money on recycling?


Q. What is recycling?
Recycling is the concept of taking already used materials and then processing them into other materials to be reused. For example, the morning paper can be recycled for another morning's news or other paper products.

Q. Why should I recycle?
Recycling reduces our reliance on landfills, saves energy, conserves natural resources and reduces climate change impacts.

Q. What materials can be recycled?

Items Accepted at the Drop-off Depots include Newspaper, Mixed Paper, Cardboard, Metal Food Cans, Plastics and Glass. For more information, please refer to the additional information on Recycling

Note: For a detailed list of recyclable material please refer to the Recycling Guide or call the Recycling Hotline at 403.502.8045 for additional information.

Q. What materials cannot be recycled?

Items NOT Accepted at the Drop-off Depots include Styrofoam containers, organic (food waste), and household hazardous waste. 

Q. Where does all this stuff go after we put it in the bins at the recycling depots?
The materials are collected by REDI Recycle and taken to the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). At the MRF the materials are sorted, baled and prepared for shipment to brokers or mills. Brokers and mills throughout the country purchase the materials and then convert them to a form, which permits their reuse by industry. Paper may go to a de-inking facility and plastic to a buyer who cleans the plastic materials, makes them into pellets and then sells them to an end user who will use the plastic pellets for making everyday products.

Q. What does this stuff get made into?
The variety of materials made of recycled content continues to increase dramatically on a daily basis. Today virtually any paper product may be made of recycled content fibers. If the product is made of a recycled material, it will be marked in some way to indicate "Made of Recycled Content." The lowest quality of paper products such as paperboard (cereal boxes), tissue and toilet paper almost always contains recycled content fibers. Practically all aluminum cans and almost all steel products contain recycled materials in their manufacture. An increasing number of materials made of recycled plastics are now available in the marketplace. These include plastic lumber, parking stops, park benches, carpets, fiberfill, "fleece" coats, picnic tables and playground equipment.

Q. Who makes money on recycling?
Today, recycling is a big business and because so many different types of materials are recycled and must be separately sorted, baled and processed, there are significant costs in the process. The costs include collection, sorting, baling and transporting the materials to a broker or mill as well as the cost of processing the materials in such a manner as to make them reusable or convert them to a reusable form. Each participant in the process is a business, government or not-for-profit organization and at least its costs of providing its service must be covered. The actual cost of collecting the materials does not fluctuate significantly from year to year. It is similar to other fixed costs such as the cost of collecting trash. However, the cost of processing the materials so they can be sold to brokers or mills for end use fluctuates significantly. It is simply driven by market conditions in the broader economy and often influenced by foreign markets. There are times when the value of aluminum or newspaper more than offsets the cost of collecting, processing and shipping the materials to market. However, in other times the collection and processing costs outweigh the cost for which the goods can be sold at market.

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Last updated: 5/1/2012 10:50:37 AM