What Turns Into What?


What are recycled materials turned into? Most of us don’t know. Our knowledge ends at the curb, where recyclables are carried away to mysterious second lives. But those second lives are about to get a lot less mysterious — here are the items that are commonly made from your recycling.

what aluminum

Aluminum: New beverage cans, pie pans, aluminum foil, license plate frames, airplane parts and bicycles.

what steel

Steel: Steel cans, steel beams, chains, industrial pipes, car parts, bike parts and appliances.

what glass

Glass: Bottles, jars, countertops, flooring, tile, landscaping stones and bricks, fiberglass insulation, reflective signage, roadbase, highway marking beads, glass sand used to purify water, and aggregate for water and sewer installations.

what paper

Paper: Corrugated cardboard, paperboard, newspaper, magazines, grocery bags, paper towels, napkins, tissues, toilet paper, printing and writing paper, stationery, egg cartons, pencil barrels, cage bedding for small animals, ceiling tiles, wall board insulation and backing on roofing shingles.

what pet

Plastic #1 (PET): Car bumpers, side tables, cups, utensils, storage trays, picture frames, rope, brush bristles; new containers for products such as beverages, salad dressing and household cleaning products; and polyester, found in clothing, carpet, backpacks, polar fleece, and the fill in jackets, sleeping bags and upholstery.

what hdpe

Plastic #2 (HDPE): New plastic jugs, plastic lumber, patio furniture, play sets, frisbees, flower pots, watering cans, buckets, recycling bins, roadside curbs, truck cargo liners and stadium seats.