Environmental Health and Safety

What Happens To Recycled Materials

The following information is provided courtesy of the New York City Sanitation Department. For more information please visit their recycling home page at: http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/dos/html/bw_home/index.html

Newspapers, magazines, catalogs, phone books, and mixed paper are separated from corrugated cardboard.

Some newspapers, magazines, catalogs, and phone books are shipped to paper mills in the U.S., Canada, and the Far East, and used to make new newsprint and gray cardboard.

Some corrugated cardboard is sent to factories in the U.S. and Mexico where it is made into paperboard, brown paper grocery bags, and new cardboard.

In 1997, Visy Industries opened a paper recycling plant and container board mill in Staten Island. The plant processes 150,000 tons of the City's waste paper, as well as tons of paper collected from surrounding areas, each year. The paper is recycled into linerboard for corrugated packaging products. When complete in the year 2000, the facility will employ 413 and will have a total output of about 500,000 tons per year.

Bottles, cans, beverage cartons, and aluminum foil are separated into piles of steel, glass, aluminum, beverage cartons, and plastic.

Steel is sold to scrap metal dealers and steel mills to make a variety of new steel products.

Milk and juice containers are de-polycoated and the paper remaining is used to make new products.

Glass is separated by color-clear, brown, and green-crushed into cullet (small pieces ready for melting), and sold to manufacturers of new glass bottles and jars.

Aluminum cans are baled and returned to can manufacturers where they are melted down, made into new cans, and back on grocery shelves within six weeks.

Aluminum foil is also baled and returned to manufacturers where it is processed into new aluminum.

Plastic is sorted by type and sent to manufacturers who make products such as artificial lumber and stuffing for ski jackets.

Christmas trees become wood chips. These chips are combined with grass clippings and made into compost, which is donated to New York City community gardens, parks, and non-profit or residential landscapers, which use them as mulch or ground cover.

Leaves and other organic waste are composted into a nutrient-rich soil conditioner which is available through the Department's Compost Give-Back Program.