At BV Trash Valet & Recycling, we talk frequently about single-stream recycling, a method of recycling that allows all different types of recyclable materials to be collected together and sorted at the recycling facility. But what happens after your recycling is collected? Even with single-stream recycling, there are three different ways that materials can be recycled and put back into use. Ever wanted to learn more about what happens with your recycling behind the scenes? In today’s blog, let’s break down the three methods of handling recyclable materials:

Mechanical Recycling

Mechanical recycling is the primary method used to recycle plastic materials. By running them through a machine, plastics are cleaned, dried, ground, separated, and compounded. This allows the plastic to be reformed into something else so that it can be used again, as it leaves the polymers largely unaffected and functional for future use. This is the most common form of recycling and the one that you probably picture when you think of a recycling facility.

Energy Recycling

Energy recycling is used mostly in Europe and Japan but is a very environmentally friendly recycling option. It involves converting plastics into thermal and even electric energy by incinerating the plastics and using the heat released as fuel. This may sound harmful to the environment but machines used now are careful to execute this process in the most eco-friendly way possible, with the least environmental impact. However, it’s a rather expensive method of recycling and not widely used in the United States.

Chemical Recycling

Chemical recycling is the newest form of recycling and the most complicated process. It can be expensive, and is still largely experimental. Through the use of chemicals, plastics are reprocessed and their chemical structure is changed so that they can be made into something else and re-used. It has lofty goals, but at this point, chemical recycling still requires more technological advances and resources that aren’t always easily available.

It’s always good to keep yourself informed about what happens with recycling once you send it off. Fortunately, with our efficient single-stream recycling and ability to accept plastics 1-7 and more materials overall than the standard trash and recycling company, BV Trash Valet & Recycling is a company you can trust. We’re passionate about helping you manage waste and improving our community and world through recycling. Contact BV Trash Valet & Recycling today to learn more about our weekly trash pick-up, including complimentary recycling.