As we become increasingly aware of the vast amounts of waste that our modern consumer culture produces, recycling has become a necessary step to preserving natural resources. As a result, there have been massive technological improvements in the machines that recycle materials, helping to cut down on time and effort needed to make new products.
In the past, recycling items like paper, glass, and plastic required separate bins or containers. But with the advent of single-stream recycling, these materials can now all be combined into one container that people place out on trash day to be collected by a truck or drive to a waste district themselves. From there, trucks deliver the mixed recyclables to a materials recovery facility. Once there, a series of automated machines using vibratory feeders, screens, magnets, and lasers separate out all the different materials so they can be sold to paper recyclers, metal recyclers, and plastic recyclers.
When the recycled material is being turned into something new, it can either be melted down or ground up into a powder. The process is far less resource intensive than extracting raw materials, as it requires no energy to melt plastic and only around a third of the energy it takes to produce new aluminum.
But not all types of plastic can be recycled; there are certain ones that aren’t as easily melted down. The hardest to recycle are #6 and #7 plastics, also known as polystyrene and styrofoam. These plastics can be turned into other materials but they’re not worth the cost of melting them down, so they go into the trash.
Other types of plastic are able to be melted down, however, and turned into things such as water bottles, soda bottles, carpet fibers, and clothing. Recycling these materials helps to keep them out of landfills, where they could contaminate soil and pollute waters, and they help conserve the earth’s natural resources by preventing a need for additional mining operations.
While there are still some issues with implementing sustainable methods of manufacturing, it is clear that more and more people are interested in recycling, which is driving further innovation in the machines that do this work. In fact, some companies have been working to create smart recycling machines that can automatically sort out the different kinds of plastics and other materials. These are being tested in cities, such as Istanbul and Rome, where they’re hoped to help reduce the amount of waste that ends up on the streets. The technology is also being used in schools and businesses to encourage recycling among employees and students. It’s a step towards creating an even more sustainable world. As a global community, we need to do more than just recycle; we need to make it easier for people to do so. That’s why innovations in recycling machines are so important, and we look forward to continuing to see them come about. recycling machines