Recycling Center Tour in Charlestown

On Friday, November 19th four UUA staff members toured Casella’s zero-sort recycling facility in Charlestown, MA.  Here’s a recap of our trip for everyone who couldn’t attend:

Zero-sort is one word for single-stream recycling, as opposed to double stream where paper/cardboard is separated from glass/plastic.  It is easier for the average person to not have to sort recycling, but to be able to put it all into one container.  Data shows that in areas where single-stream recycling is available volume tends to go up drastically.

where recycling enters the plant

It’s amazing the various methods they use to separate the different kinds of recyclable material.  The material is pushed onto a moving belt which has certain sized roller/slots that shake to capture a certain size of material.  There are also optical sorts which have computers sending light rays down to the material and back up to the computer-when they detect what it is, 160 air jets can shoot it across a divider gap into one stream or it will fall down the gap to another belt. (more…)