The Northwest Herald

Where do your recyclables go?

Do your recyclables really get recycled?

Have you ever wondered where your recyclables go when they leave the curb? What happens after the recycling workers dump them into the truck and drive away?

Believe it not, the materials go through an amazing sorting process and then become 'new products.'

First, the materials are transported to a processing center for sorting before being shipped to places where they are manufactured into "new products."

Then the recyclables are dumped on the floor at Grayslake Processing Center.

There are various methods for separating cardboard, paper, bottles and cans.

At Grayslake Processing Center, the materials are loaded onto conveyor belts. A special screen removes the cardboard.

Paper is separated from the containers by screens called news screen and then manually sorted by workers into various types of paper, such as newspaper and office paper.

Special machines are used to sort the different containers.

A magnet removes the steel cans. An "eddie current," which is actually a reverse magnet, separates the aluminum cans.

Glass is separated out in a machine called a trommel.

Plastics are sorted optically.

After the recyclables are separated, they are baled. As an example, a bale of aluminum cans will weigh about 1,000 pounds and contain more than 31,000 cans.

These bales are shipped to companies throughout the world where the materials are made into new products.

Plastic bottles can be made into synthetic fibers that become eco-fleece jackets. Aluminums are made into new aluminum cans.

Then these products are shipped to stores where customers purchase them. Aluminum cans are back in the stores in six weeks. Thus, the materials have completed the recycling loop.

Check out the many recycled products available: (Recycled Product Guide).

Call the Lou Marchi Total Recycling Institute for a list of local stores that carry recycled products.

For a closer look at what happens at a Processing Center, check out the following Web site:

Find out where your recyclables are processed

One Source Recycling in Rockford receives recyclables from Bull Valley, Crystal Lake, Harvard, Lakewood, Marengo, McHenry, Wonder Lake and Woodstock.

DuKane Transfer Station receives recyclables from Cary, Prairie Grove and Spring Grove.

Recycle America of Lake County in Grayslake receives recyclables from Algonquin, Sun City, Fox River Grove, Holiday Hills, Island Lake, Johnsburg, Lakemoor, McCullom Lake, Oakwood Hills, Port Barrington, Richmond, Ringwood and Trout Valley.

Resource Management in Chicago receives recyclables from Lake in the Hills.

For information about recycling, check out the online Recycling Director for McHenry County at and the online McHenry County Business Recycling Directory at Hard copies are also available.

- The Recycling Round-up column is a cooperative effort of the McHenry County Planning and Development Department (815) 334-4560, the Lou Marchi Total Recycling Institute at McHenry County College at (815) 489-7817, the McHenry County Defenders (815) 338-0393 and the Algonquin Township Road District. Yours resources for recycling information.


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