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Route to Recycling What happens after they pick up your Blue Bin?

Since 1991, Solid Waste Services has been recycling materials across the City of Corpus Christi. In 2011, the City began utilizing a single-stream recycling method to increase public participation.

Today, as another collection vehicle pulls up to Republic Services recycling processing plant, another 60 tons of aluminum cans, plastic bottles, newspaper, and cardboard are unloaded and separated.

This is where the process begins.

History of the City’s Recycling Program

  • 1991 – The City begins its recycling program using 18-gallon bins made from recycled Coca-Cola plastic crates.
  • 1992 – Approximately 16% of Corpus Christi households participate in the City’s recycling program, resulting in about 3,000 tons of recyclable material collected annually.
  • 2011 – The City begins utilizing single stream recycling. Curbside collection starts on a biweekly schedule, which quadruples the public’s participation in the program.
  • 2016 – 72% of Corpus Christi households participate in the City’s recycling program.

What is single-stream recycling?

It is a system in which all recyclables including newspaper, aluminum cans, cardboard, and plastic are collected together and placed in a single bin for recycling. The items are collected by truck and taken to a materials recovery facility to be sorted into various commodity streams for sale to different markets, where it is then processed and used to manufacture new products.

The Process

First, an employee closely examines each truckload of recyclables, documenting a general description of the items brought in and noting any unusual or unexpected issues that the latest batch may present.

Republic Services crew member observes incoming recyclables.

First line of defense

Workers manually separate recyclables as they pass on a conveyor belt.

Plastic bottles and aluminum cans are separated and placed in different collection areas.

Heavy Metal

Metal items are separated and placed in a large red bin for separate processing

Separate ways

An eddy current separator, which utilizes reverse polarity, separates cans from other waste after all metal items have been removed.

Paper Recycling

Shredded paper is accepted for recycling as long as it is not coated with wax or plastic. Also, when recycling shredded paper, make sure to place it in a clear plastic garbage bag.

When recycling paper, be sure it is in a clear plastic bag to make separating easier on workers.

Mixed paper and cardboard, which includes old magazines, catalogs, junk mail, paperboard (like cereal boxes) and old corrugated cardboard, are compacted into bales which weigh approximately 1400 pounds before being recycled.

Be sure cardboard is clean and free from greasy stains.

Brand New Crush

It only takes 90 days to turn a crushed aluminum can into a new one.

"Baled" Out

Once they are separated from the other recyclables, they are compacted into bales which weigh an average of 1,000 pounds.

Plastic with a purpose

Bales of plastic bottles are shipped off to be recycled as new plastic which will be used to produce everything from new playground equipment to various household items.

All Bottled up

Others are reused to make more plastic bottles.

A facility employee inspects a newly-produced bale of mixed paper and cardboard.
Facility employees separate plastic bottles from other nonrecyclable items as they move along on a conveyor belt.
Bales of mixed paper and cardboard are loaded on trucks to be recycled as new paper products.

From the blue bin to the bale, plastic bottles, paper, cardboard, and aluminum cans will soon find new life as recycled products. That is why it is important to Recycle Right, Corpus Christi!

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