EFI Answers Common Question: Where Does My Recycling Go?

Portland, Ore. (September 15, 2008) — The importance of recycling and reusing resources is well known, but for many, the actual recycling process is somewhat of a mystery. EFI Recycling, a locally owned and operated recycling company, has serviced the Portland area’s recycling needs since 2001 and provides insight to what happens to recyclables after they leave the curb.

Once consumers place their recyclables at the curbside, the process begins when waste haulers pick up the recycling bins. Since spring 2008, all recycling bins in the Portland metropolitan have been comingled bins. Comingled recycling means that all the recyclables (excluding glass) are collected together and do not need to be separated prior to pick-up. The comingled recyclables are transported to a sorting facility, like EFI Recycling on Swan Island in North Portland.

At the sorting facility, a combination of automated and manual sort line work will separate and group cardboard, paper, plastic and metal materials. Once sorting is completed, the materials are compacted into 2,100-pound bales. Approximately 10,000 two-liter bottles are required to create one 2,100-pound bale of plastic bottles. EFI processes more than 20 bales per hour, translating into 120 to 200 tons of recyclables processed per day.

Finally, the bales are sold to various mills for processing. Paper and cardboard mills break the paper down into pulp and turn it back into office paper, paper towels, tissue paper, cardboard and many other paper products. Plastic mills melt the bales of plastic down and turn it into different grade pellets; the pellets are then sold to bottle, bucket, plastic film and even carpet manufacturers. Metal mills melt the used metal down and turn it into sheets of metal or into pellets to be sold later.

After the final processing stage, the recycled materials work their way back into stores for purchase.

About EFI
Environmental Fibers International has more than 100 years of combined industry experience in shredding and recycling services. EFI is a family-owned business located on Swan Island in North Portland, Ore., and maintains facilities with the most sophisticated technology to collect and recycle a wide array of paper, cardboard and plastic film products. EFI is widely recognized for its consistent purchase and supply of quality recycling products and services.