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What happens to my recycling?
Visual: Animated icons of recyclable material appear.
Let’s hear the real story behind how glass, metal, plastic, paper and cardboard is processed right here in Ottawa. The more you know about recycling and how it works, the better you can sort the items.
Visual: Split screen – a full blue bin and a full black bin are being placed at the curb.
Blue and black bins are collected on alternating weeks.
Visual: Truck stops, waste collection operator picks up bins, puts contents into vehicle.
On average, each recycling truck makes 1,100 stops a day.
Visual: Collection vehicle drives onto scale.
Trucks are weighed when entering the recycling facility, loads are then tipped into a holding area.
Visual: Split screen – truck on the left tipping glass, metal and plastic, truck on the right tipping paper and cardboard. Front-end loader pushes materials towards conveyor belt. Blue and black bin icons appear.
86 trucks unload glass, metal, plastic, paper and cardboard daily. More than 93 tonnes of blue bin material and 142 tonnes of black bin material is processed every day.
Visual: Blue bin icon re-appears. Conveyor belt moves glass, metal, plastic upwards.
At the blue bin processing facility, material flows up the conveyor belt. The metering drum controls the flow of material.
Visual: Conveyor belt now moves horizontally. Staff sifting through material.
As we go through the process you will see machines using movement, weight, electricity, magnets, air, and infrared to sort.
Visual: Hands with gloves pulling out items, throwing them into nearby opening.
On the pre-sort line, workers open bags and remove garbage …
Visual: Conveyor belt moving up again, material falling from top edge into machine with quickly shifting iron panels.
…, bulky plastic, and scrap metal. The ballistic separator removes 2 dimensional items…
Visual: Plastic bags and film plastics falling into bunker, forming a large pile.
… like film plastic from the system. Unacceptable items like plastic bags end up at the landfill site.
Visual: Conveyor belt moving material upwards.
The recyclables then travel up to the drum magnet.
Visual: Animated graphic to show how magnetic sorting works.
This spinning magnet captures tin cans and other metals and drops them onto a conveyor belt.
Visual: Conveyor belt moving materials.
All materials other than metal and glass flow down the conveyor belt, towards 2 optical sorters.
Visual: View through window into machine; bright light shows plastics flying off conveyor belt in different directions.
Infra red sensors identify the different types of plastic. Plastics are blown by air jets into the appropriate chutes.
Visual: Animated icons appear – a plastic water bottle, a laundry detergent bottle, a gable top milk carton, a spray bottle and two types of squeeze bottles.
These sorters are used to separate the following containers: #1 plastics, #2 plastics, cartons, and #3-5 plastics.
Visual: Staff removing garbage from conveyor belt.
Workers at quality control stations remove any leftover non-recyclable items.
Visual: Hands with gloves sorting what is left into chutes.
The remaining materials continue on for manual sorting.
Visual: Aluminum products flying from one conveyor belt onto another. Staff going through aluminum products on conveyor belt.
The eddy current separator puts an electrical charge into aluminum cans, and a magnet propels the cans onto a separate belt.
Visual: Conveyor belt moving mixed material towards bright light. Items fall onto pile in tipping area where process began.
Finally, another optical sorter captures materials that were missed by the process and sends them back for another round of sorting.
Visual: Objects sorted out during process – things like a tire, a hose, cables, a lunch box and a tennis racket.
Contamination is material not acceptable in the blue or black bin program. These items are sent to the landfill.
Visual: Large cubes of compressed plastic material coming out of machine that ties them up with wire.
A baler crushes various materials into cubes for easy shipping.
Visual: Large cubes of aluminum, stacked.
Bales of steel such as tin cans…
Visual: Bale of cartons.
and gable, such as milk cartons
Visual: Worker pulling out materials from bale of drink cans.
Bales are inspected for quality before they are shipped.
Visual: Worker loading plastic bale onto truck with forklift. Black bin icon appears. Front-end loader moving paper and cardboard.
Let’s go over how we separate the paper and cardboard from your black bin. Once again, material is loaded onto a conveyor belt, and a metering drum controls the amount of material entering the facility.
Visual: Paper and cardboard items falling off a conveyor belt onto separate belts.
A disc screener sorts the large cardboard from the rest of the material.
Visual: Pieces of cardboard moving upwards.
The cardboard then travels directly on a conveyor belt to a baler.
Visual: Paper and boxboard moving upwards.
The remaining material is moved on two parallel conveyor belts to the main sorting room.
Visual: Staff sifting through material, putting items into different chutes.
Workers pull off the boxboard, and any leftover cardboard for recycling. Garbage is also removed.
Visual: Large piles of cardboard and paper, separated by concrete walls.
These materials are dropped into the appropriate bunkers directly below the main sort room.
Visual: Growing pile of paper.
The only remaining material is paper, which falls off the conveyor belts into its own bunker.
Visual: Tunnel full of items like bags, film plastic, bubble wrap.
Garbage removed from the recycling is transported to landfill.
Visual: Front-end loader dropping paper in front of baling machine.
Material is then moved from the bunkers for baling.
Visual: Large cube of boxboard leaving baling machine.
Paper, boxboard and cardboard is baled for shipping to market. Each bale can weigh up to 700 kilograms.
Visual: White truck leaving the facility.
The material is made into new products.
Visual: Animated water bottle appears, morphs into t-shirt.
Number 1 bottles are transformed into fleece, t-shirts, and parkas.
Visual: Animated laundry detergent bottle appears, morphs into pipe.
Number 2 plastics like laundry detergent bottles and shampoo bottles are transformed into water pipes, culverts, and more number 2 bottles.
Visual: Animated spray bottle appears, morphs into bench.
Mixed plastics like plastic tub lids are transformed into plastic lumber, playground equipment, and park benches.
Visual: Animated aluminum can appears, morphs into new aluminum can.
Aluminum like soft drink cans, are transformed into aluminum sheeting for automobiles and more aluminum cans.
Visual: Animated glass bottle appears, morphs into road.
Glass bottles & jars get transformed into road construction materials…
Visual: Animated soup can appears, morphs into chain.
… and steel soup cans get transformed into chains, piping, household appliances, and automotive parts.
Visual: Animated gable top container appears, morphs into paper towel roll.
Milk and juice boxes get transformed into paper towels, paper trays, cardboard and tissues.
Visual: Animated cardboard box appears, morphs into new box.
Old corrugated cardboard is transformed into more old corrugated cardboard.
Visual: Animated newspaper appears, morphs into new newspaper.
Paper is transformed into paper and insulation.
Visual: Animated cereal box appears, morphs into new box.
Boxboard is transformed into cereal and cracker boxes, etc.
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Not sure where to dispose of a household item? Visit Ottawa.ca/wasteexplorer
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