What Happens to Recycled Materials?

crushed recycled plastic

Unwanted or used materials such as plastics, paper, glass, and aluminium can be transformed into new products through recycling. The exact process varies depending on the material being recycled, but in general, recycling involves collection, sorting, processing, manufacturing, and distribution.

We all understand that recycling is good for the planet. Most of us participate in recycling by placing our recyclable rubbish in separate bins and wheeling those out to the street on collection days, or taking it to a local recycling facility, but did you ever wonder what happens to all of that material?  Let’s discuss the process of recycling.


Paper recycling starts when the collected paper is sorted into type and grade. The paper waste is cleaned and de-inked, then pulped to make a slurry. The slurry is then spread out on a screen and pressed to remove excess water. The paper is dried, rolled, and transformed into new paper products such as newsprint, cardboard, or copy paper. Paper can be recycled multiple times, but it degrades with each recycling. While the number of products that can be created with the degraded paper is limited, it can still be used for products such as toilet paper, animal bedding, egg cartons, or insulation.


The process for recycling glass starts by sorting the glass by colour. The glass is then crushed into small pieces called cullet. The cullet is melted in a furnace, and the molten glass is used to create new glass products such as floor tiles, jewellery beads, glass bottles, or garden ornaments.


Most plastic products are stamped with a number, usually on the bottom of the product. These numbers identify the type of plastic used for that product. After plastics are received at the recycling facility, they’re sorted by colour and by type. The plastic is cleaned, shredded, and melted down into small pellets that can be used to make new products. Examples are plastic toys, bottles, and furniture. Some types of plastic can be converted into fibres that are used to make clothing or carpet. It’s important to note, however, that not all plastics can be recycled.


Aluminium is one of the most widely used materials in the world, and it’s also one of the most recyclable. In fact, aluminium is 100% recyclable. A unique characteristic of aluminium is that recycled aluminium doesn’t degrade in the process. In fact, 75% of all the aluminium made throughout history is still being used today. Scrap aluminium such as metal cans, foil, or other products is melted down to form ingots. These ingots are then cast into new products such as car parts, building materials, or luggage.

Closed Loop Recycling vs Open Loop Recycling

Closed loop recycling refers to the process of turning a recycled product into a new product of the same sort. This process is suitable for materials that don’t degrade when being recycled, such as aluminium or glass, and even some types of plastics. Examples of closed loop recycling are using recycled plastic bottles to make new bottles or turning recycled aluminium beverage cans into new ones. Closed loop recycling is unique in that the materials can be reused without adding additional raw materials to the process.

Open loop recycling involves using recycled materials to produce different products. The example mentioned before was converting recycled plastics into fibres used to produce carpets or clothing.

Exporting Recycled Materials

Some countries are unable to procure all of the raw materials they need for their manufacturing processes. These countries are willing to purchase recycled materials as a means to not only meet the demand for new products, but also to reduce their environmental impact and to meet sustainability goals. Even though these materials have to be shipped long distances in some cases, it’s still advantageous for these manufacturers to use the recycled materials rather than new raw materials.

Recycling Experts

For over 23 years, Budget Waste Management has been providing efficient recycling services. We are leading regional recyclers of both commercial and domestic waste.  We boast a modern, large fleet of skip hire trucks and tippers complemented by large scale recycling machinery. This allows us to remove almost all types and volumes of waste and recycle nearly all of it on our own premises in Evesham. In fact, we are able to recycle 95% of the waste we process.

We take waste from Worcestershire, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire and export all over the UK and Europe. We are passionate about meeting new aims and recycling targets. Our ethos is to reduce and reuse and as a result, we sell a range of processed aggregates and soils all from our centre on the outskirts of the Cotswold and Vale of Evesham.  Supporting our community is at the heart of what we do, from working with local charities to skips for village clearances, we are always looking for ways to make a difference.

When you need to hire a skip, give us a call at 01386 941181 or fill in our contact form. We offer a variety of skips. We can often deliver the same day with orders placed before 12:00 noon. And we can deliver or collect skips without you being at home.

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"Very helpful and responsive on initial enquiry, Jordan on the sales line was patient with my skip-ignorance and helped me pick the ideal size for the job…" Chrs
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