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What is a Recycling Center?

Going Green

A recycling center is a processing plant that collects materials that can be recycled, and processes them so they can be turned into new products. This prevents wasting of potentially useful materials, reduces energy usage and consumption of fresh raw materials, and lowers air pollution (from incineration), water pollution (from landfill use), and greenhouse gas emissions by cutting down on the need for more common waste disposal methods.

The process of recycling


There are three main forms of recyclable material collection in use in the United States:

  • Drop-off centers
  • Buyback centers
  • Curbside collection

Drop-off centers ask that a person brings the recyclable waste to a central location, such as a mobile collection station, or even to the recycling center itself; this type of collection is established easily, but often suffers from low and unpredictable flow of resources.

Buyback centers provide an incentive in the form of their purchasing the recyclables, hoping to sell the post-processed material for a profit later on; this incentive greatly helps in creating a steady supply of incoming material.

Curbside collection is carried out with a waste collection vehicle, which gathers material from bins placed at the curb in the residential neighborhoods in the participating areas.

Sorting recyclables

Once the recyclables are gathered and sent to the central collection facility, the materials must be sorted for further processing. This is done in a series of stages (generally automatically, with a few exceptions - known as single-stream recycling) that allow a full truck to be sorted in less than an hour.