where does all the \"stuff\" go?

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  • Where Does All the Stuff Go?Take a tour of San Joses Materials Recovery Facility

  • Used motor oil and oil filters are recycled using oil jugs and filter bags that are designed to prevent leaks. This is the station where they are dropped off and drained.

  • The oil jugs are then cleaned so that drivers can leave a replacements for collected oil jugs.

  • Garbage and recycling is collected using automated split body side loader trucks. The driver operates the a mechanical arm that lifts heavy carts, and a switch is flipped to control a flap funneling the material into the trucks appropriate compartment .

  • The trucks split body holds 31 cubic yards (9 tons total) with the compartments split between 60% for recycling and 40% for garbage.

  • San Jos residents generate about 500,000 tons of garbage every year and that's a pile that is hard to ignore! About 45% of San Jos's residential waste is collected as garbage. That's over a pound per person per day!

  • Of this, 125,000 tons of recyclables are collected per year. Although San Jos has one of the most comprehensive recycling programs in the country, much more of what is thrown away can be recycled into new products.

  • Large items like the tires shown here and mattresses can be recycled, but not at this facility. Such items are pulled out and sent to other processing facilities.

  • Here the recycling load is emptied into the sorting chute.

  • Here the recycling comes down the chute to enter the manual sorting area.

  • The process of sorting the recyclables is only partially automated, GreenTeam employees handle much of the material to sort it properly.

  • A system of conveyor belts, screens, electromagnets and blasts of air separate paper from plastics, glass and other materials.

  • Here, paper destined for processing to make new paper products leaves through a separate chute.

  • Plastics and aluminum leave through separate chutes as well.

  • Here is the final path for paper products before they are baled for shipping.

  • The sorted bales and bins of materials are then stacked, ready to be taken to processing facilities before being sold to make new products.