How Does Recycling Get Sorted?

How Does Recycling Get Sorted?

The sorting process for recycling involves separating recyclable materials, along with sorting specific types of waste such as paper and cardboard. Steel cans then follow on the sorter to be removed using magnets, whilst plastics are identified using optical scanners.

How Recycling Gets Sorted

From Recycling Bin to Materials Recovery Facility (MRF):

Once you’ve placed your recyclables into the recycling bin, they are transported to a Materials Recovery Facility, or MRF. At the facility, the single stream recycling process begins, which means that all recyclables which are mixed together can be sorted. The machinery will separate a range of materials, whilst workers will manually segregate certain items.

Pre Sort Area

Here, larger items and non-recyclable materials are removed. Workers also remove potentially harmful items and contaminants that can hamper the process. An example of a common contaminant is plastic bags, which can clog machinery and should be kept out of the standard recycling stream.

Conveyor Belt Dynamics

Once the pre sort is complete, the items are moved onto a conveyor belt. The speed and efficiency of this system allow for rapid sorting of different materials. As items move along, various processes and technologies help in the sorting.

Eddy Current Separator and Other Technologies

One of the innovative technologies in place is the eddy current separator. This tool is specifically designed to separate non-ferrous metals, such as aluminium cans, from other recyclables. It uses magnetic fields to eject the aluminium cans from the conveyor, ensuring they can be baled and sent to aluminium recyclers.

Plastic Bottles and Other Specifics

As the conveyor belt continues its journey, advanced optical sorters identify and separate plastic bottles based on their polymer type. This precise sorting ensures that each type of plastic can be recycled into the correct end product. 

Plastic bags, which were removed earlier, have a different recycling process and are often collected separately at specific drop-off locations.

Bailey’s Skip Hire & Recycling’s New Sorting Line

The magic behind the sorting of recyclables is a combination of advanced technology and human intervention. At Bailey’s Skip Hire & Recycling, we have just announced our new sorting line in development with CRS NI LTD. This will allow us to increase recycling and recovery rates for the waste we collect in the local area.


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