RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Nov. 15 is America Recycles Day, so what happens when you throw your recycling in the recycle bin?
2,000 tons of recycling each week ends up at the Sonoco Recycling Facility in Raleigh.
The piles and piles of recycling eventually go down conveyor belts, getting separated and sorted by material.
But it’s not just the machines that do the work.
“No equipment is 100% accurate, if there’s a plastic bottle on there she’ll manually pull that off and direct that where it needs to go,” explains Patrick McDonald, the Procurement and Sales Manager of Sonoco Recycling.
Once everything is sorted, it’s bundled up, ready to be used again!
“We’ve got our bales of cardboard staged here, they’ve already been separated from the rest of the process, baled up and they’re awaiting shipment to a paper mill, likely one of our own, where it will be converted into new products,” McDonald says.
But you can do more than just putting items in a blue recycle bin.
“Recycling is always something people like to take advantage of, but then there are also a lot of other things folks can do too,” explains Megan Anderson, Director of Sustainability for the City of Raleigh.
She says there are low-cost ways to be more sustainable, and save some money in the process.
“You can take some low-cost actions and weatherize your house, making sure you’re reducing your energy through turning off your lights and thinking about that, but also weather stripping around your doors especially this time of year.”
Another solution is as simple as taking multiple car trips down to one, or even taking the bus. Especially in the future when the city will use a unique way to sustainably fuel those buses.
“With the Raleigh water department, our Neuse River recovery center are going to convert our wastewater into renewable compressed natural gas and that is going to be used to fuel our buses,” she explains.
Raleigh wants to focus on not just making the city healthier for the environment, but making sure people have plenty of ways to help the environment, and themselves, as well.
For more on how the city of Raleigh is combating climate change, and how to learn about the programs offered to help you be more sustainable, click here.