Whether you're recycling glass or plastic bottles, your contribution ends up in a variety of consumer goods. The same goes for aluminum cans. Below are three commonly recycled items and some of the things they help create.
Plastic Bottles May Provide Your Patio Seating
It's true. That plastic patio set you're enjoying might well be made of recycled plastic bottles. Most plastic bottles used for food items are made out of polyethylene terephthalate, known as PET in the industry. These bottles are 100 percent recyclable and may be shredded, melted and formed into new bottles. Other options include making fabric, fiberfill for clothing or even carpet.
HDPE bottles, made of high-density polyethylene, are thicker and stronger and are used for food and non-food items. Recycled HDPE bottles are often made into flower pots, picnic tables, fencing and other household objects.
Glass Bottles May Be Decorating Your Kitchen
Glass is made mostly from sand, which contains silica. It's combined with soda ash and limestone and then melted. When the liquid solidifies, it forms a transparent solid. Colours are created by adding different elements. Iron and chromium, for example, create glass with a greenish tint.
It takes a lot of energy to create glass from raw materials. At commercial glass factories it is common practice to mix recycled glass with raw materials to make new glass. The molten glass is poured into moulds for containers or glasses or poured on tin to create window panes. Unique items are created by glassblowers that use breath and movement to shape each piece.
Another trend in recycled glass is using it to make countertops. The glass is crushed into tiny pieces, mixed with a resin-like compound, poured into sheets and then allowed to harden. The countertops are sanded and polished to provide a smooth, non-permeable surface. The different colours of glass, as well as different additives in the resin compound, allows customers to better match their décor. At the end of their lifespan, the countertops can be recycled.
Aluminum Cans May Help You Stay Airborne
Most of the aluminum cans sent to the recycler are made into new cans. It takes about 60 days to get a recycled can back onto store shelves, and saves 95 percent of the energy it takes to create aluminum from scratch. Other cans, as well as other recycled aluminum items, end up as bicycles, building facades and even airplane parts. Nearly 35 percent of the aluminum produced today comes from recycled product.
Contact a business like Sur-Del Bottle Depot if you're interested in learning more about recycling services and what can actually be recycled.