Recycling Myth: It just goes to the landfill anyway.
Recycling makes sense both economically and environmentally. However, when I am giving a presentation or a MRF Tour, some people try to disagree. The problem is that people are making old arguments from 20 or more years ago. Over the next few days I will share some of the most common myths about recycling and arguments for not recycling that I occasionally hear.
Myth #1: Stuff I recycle just goes to the landfill anyway.
This argument is usually from a person who “saw” the garbage man or janitor mix the recyclables and the trash together. Garbage haulers do not do this because it is illegal and they would get in serious trouble if someone found out. In some neighborhoods, especially in Waukesha County, the hauler uses a little truck or scooter to pick up recycling and garbage from houses. The truck is divided into 3 compartments: one for garbage, one for paper recycling, and one for commingled recycling (bottles, cans, etc). Little trucks are used because they are quicker and easier to maneuver through neighborhoods. They also use less gas than the large trucks.
Once the little trucks are full, they meet in a central location and sort the materials into the larger ‘mother trucks’. One big truck is filled with ONLY garbage and goes to the landfill. The other truck is filled with ONLY recyclables and comes to the MRF (Materials Recycling Facility). This large truck is divided down the middle: one side is filled with paper and the other side is filled with commingled recyclables (plastic #1 & plastic #2 bottles and jugs, aluminum cans, glass jars, and steel or tin cans).
Below are some pictures of the trucks used for this process. They were taken in the city of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. I hope this helps clarify what happens to your recyclables. If you ever have a question, do not hesitate to ask.