Illustration: Guerruntz
Illustration: Guerruntz

1. First, recyclable materials are collected at the curb, at a drop-off center, a buy-back center or through a deposit program (like the bottle return program).

2. After being sorted, the recyclables are then sent to a processing company under contract with the town or city. There they are washed and sorted further. Machines separate recyclables by weight. Magnets are used to separate metals. Glass must be sorted by hand by the color of the glass.

3. Companies that want the materials buy them from the processing company and make them into something else. With the economic slump, however, more recyclable materials are going to landfills because people are buying less. Therefore, companies are producing smaller numbers of products.

4. Consumers buy products made with recycled materials