What's Next?

posted 5/9/2019

What really happens to the plastic, paper, metal, and glass items we recycle every day? Some of those items are recycled into the same product, while others are “recycled down” or turned into something different. For instance, your water bottle could be turned into a polyester t-shirt or a park bench!

What’s next for my recyclables?

Aluminum and other metals: Your aluminum beverage and tin cans are able to be recycled an infinite number of times. Aluminum cans are the most valuable recycled item in the United States and can be recycled repeatedly without losing any quality. In fact, today’s discarded aluminum beverage containers can be transformed into new cans and back on store shelves in as little as 60 days! 

NOTE: Aluminum foil and foil pans ARE NOT accepted and belong in the garbage.

Cardboard: When cardboard is recycled in your Curb It! cart, about half of it will be recycled into new cardboard, and the rest is downcycled into other paper products such as cereal or shoe boxes. Don’t forget to remove staples and packing materials before placing in the cart.

NOTE: Cardboard with food on it, such as deliciously cheesy and greasy pizza, are not the cardboard we’re talking about; those belong in the trash.

Glass: Glass is also endlessly recyclable, as long it's the right kind. Different types of glass have different melting points and can’t be recycled together. Glass food jars and bottles easily transform into new glass containers and are accepted in your Curb It! recycling

Paper: Paper consists of long fibers that become shorter and shorter every time it is recycled. The shorter the fibers become, the harder it is to recycle the paper, so this material can usually only be recycled about five to seven times. Paper can be turned into tissues, toilet paper, newspaper, or egg cartons.

Plastic: Believe it or not, most plastics can only be recycled once or twice before being cycled down or losing quality. They can be made into polyester thread for items like clothing or carpet. Today, there are so many types of plastic, with varying degrees of recyclability and value, it’s important to know what is and is not accepted in your curbside recycling program. For Curb It!, do the twist! If your plastics have a twist off lid, they go in the cart.

Now that you know the recycling potential of different materials, you can use this knowledge as a guide when you are making a purchase!

Learn what’s accepted in your Curb It! cart