Have you ever questioned if recycling is worth it? Short answer: yes. Beyond saving energy and protecting natural resources, recycling also supports vital industries.
Recycling is the process of collecting materials that would otherwise be thrown away and turning them into new products. Our cans, bottles and paper are dropped off at a local facility where people and machines sort the recycling into material types which are sent to many different companies:
- Paper and cardboard are made into newspapers, toilet paper rolls and cereal boxes at five paper mills in Minnesota.
- Cartons like juice boxes are sent to a company in Wisconsin that makes a material for new paper products.
- Aluminum cans get turned into new cans, wire, siding and more at plants in the South.
- Steel cans like those used for soup are made into steel beams in Chicago.
- Plastic bottles with a number 1 like water and soda bottles are shipped to other states to be made into new bottles, deli food containers and carpet.
- Plastic containers with a number 2 like milk jugs are transformed into low-maintenance lumber by companies like Avon Plastics in Paynesville. They are also made into more bottles or irrigation tubing for farmers.
- Cottage cheese and other plastic tubs with a number 5 are used to create food containers, car parts, paint cans and more by companies in other states.
- Glass bottles and jars are sorted by color in Saint Paul. Clear glass goes to Anchor Glass in Shakopee to make condiment bottles. Brown glass is sent to Illinois to make beer bottles.
Our recycling is wanted by many companies in our state and across the country. Help support local recycling business:
- Stick to the basics: Recycle the items listed above.
- Keep it loose: Empty recycling into your bin – no plastic bags.
- Check with your recycling hauler or Ramsey County (RamseyRecycles.com/AtoZ or 651-633-3279) for everything else.