Recycling materials for environmental sustainability

Humans utilize resources for their needs, such as for construction purposes and in the manufacturing plants. These resources are normally categorized as either renewable or nonrenewable resources. Environmental degradation has often been inherent as a result of the use of nonrenewable sources.

Environmental degradation normally includes the production of the greenhouse gases that have the effects of global warming to the earth's atmosphere, this, in turn, leads to the unprecedented climatic and atmospheric conditions, leading to the devastating consequences to humans.

Recycling has been considered to be the best alternative for the handling of most of the nonrenewable resources. This is as discussed below;

The primary materials recycled

Ferrous & nonferrous metals are among the most recycled wastes. Steel, for instance, is a nonrenewable resource that naturally decomposes through rusting. In most of the cases, it takes much time for them to decompose fully. Therefore, they compromise the aesthetics within the regions that include the residential, industrial and commercial sectors that produce much waste of this kind. Recycling of the metals has been one of the key moves to ensure that the premises that include the commercial, residential, and the industrial sectors are tidy and free from the environmental compromise.

Plastic and rubber have as well, formed part of the most recycled waste materials on earth. Plastic is recorded to be the hardest to deal with a resource that is produced in large quantities for varied purposes. The wastes normally dumped within the premises of the residential, commercial, and industrial buildings and environs have the effect of degrading the aesthetic value as well, impedes the root penetration of the plants growing within the region. When burnt, they normally have the effects on humans such as the breathing constraints. Plastics are primarily products of hydrocarbons; therefore, when burnt, they release the greenhouse gases that include carbon (iv) oxide that, in turn, results in devastating environmental consequences.

Some industries might produce wood splints as their wastes, for instance, the carpentry sector. These materials have the effect of piling on the ground, which, in turn, produces a foul smell when decomposing. The residents within the regions normally prefer to burn them since when they are released to the water bodies, their decomposition leads to loss of aquatic life as a result of competition with the bacteria feeding on it. Burning normally pollutes the environment, therefore, making fair use of them through recycling has been the most convenient action to take.

Paper and cardboard as well fall under the category of wood. When released to the environment, they normally compromise the aesthetic value of the environment. Recycling them usually has the effect of increasing their value and conserves the environment, unlike the conventional way of burning them, which in turn degrades the environment through the greenhouse gases.

Broken pieces of glass as well have the effect of degrading the environment and puts people as well as animals in the positions of potential injury from the sharp bits. Taking them back to the factory for melting normally has the effect of reducing the instances of environmental degradation by improving the natural beauty of the environment.

Textile is as well, one of the leading environmental polluters that exists. This is because they are normally nonbiodegradable. This, in effect, results in the compromise of the aesthetic value within the environs of the dumping site. Textile products are normally common within the residential regions. These wastes are often dumped in a common dump site and then burnt. Burning the textile products have devastating impacts on the environment since they release hydrocarbons; this, in turn, leads to the greenhouse effects on the environment, which, in turn, cause climate change. Recycling them is normally considered the best alternative for their control.

The machines used in waste control

Handling of wastes has been over time, a big challenge that has crippled the urban regions. This is usually due to the huge amount of the wastes that they produce that in turn fills the limited pits within their environs. These wastes include the textile products, paper & cardboard, wood, construction & demolition wastes, glass and metals.  

The difficulty in controlling these wastes has been as a result of the lack of appropriate technology in terms of machinery and manpower for the efficient handling of the wastes. With the current technological advancement, handling these wastes has been quite convenient, the machines that have greatly revolutionized the waste handling process are as follows;


The wastes collected from the industrial, commercial, and the residential sectors are normally bulky and in shapes that are not easy to handle. For transportation through trucks, the use of shredders are usually utilized to transform the wastes into smaller pieces that are easily bulked together for ease in loading them on trucks. For instance, plastic bottles have proved to rake good returns on investment; on the other hand, they exist in shapes that occupy large space and with fewer quantities. Shredding them to smaller pieces normally reduces the bulk. Besides, papers, as well as carboard, normally occupy large space and when loaded on trucks as they are. Shredding them into smaller pieces has the effect of increasing the capacity that can be transported per trip.


The most common pulverizers are the powder pulverizers. These normally grind the waste materials into powder form, which in turn can be easily transported. Almost every waste can be pulverized. This ranges from the textile, plastic, metals, wood as well as glass materials. Pulverization is normally a technique aimed at the increment of transportation efficiency. Most of the wastes are in irregular shapes that demand much space. Converting them into powder form has the effect of reducing the air spaces between them, hence, increasing their bulking convenience.


Grinding waste such as metals into powder might be unnecessary wastage of energy and resources. There are sizes that are bearably convenient for transportation since they create no significant difference in bulk density. Granulators are usually the machines used to grind the large metal pieces into granular sizes that, in turn, becomes convenient for transportation. Other wastes such as glass can also be sorted by the use of granulators. Glass is normally characterized by fragility which eases the work of sorting them and packaging them for transportation. The granulators normally break them into convenient granules that in turn, are easily transported to the factories for recycling.


The most commonly used truck for the transportation of wastes to the recycling plants is the dumping trucks. Dumping trucks are normally designed to sustain large loads and to move them to distant places with the minimal fuel consumption that can be established.

Dumping trucks normally exist in different sizes. Depending on the load to be handled, the distance to recycling plants as well as the ruggedness of the terrain. It is normally recommended that transportation by dumping trucks should involve the granular sizes as well as the larger sizes of the wastes. In the case of the powdery forms, it is recommended that they are placed inside other containers before they can be transported.

Sorting of wastes

Sorting wastes according to their sizes and mass is normally a technique that eases their separation for distribution to varied manufacturing plants. For instance, the mixture of metals with plastics as well as large metals with the pieces of metal sheets can be achieved through the use of vibratory feeders. Vibratory feeders work through the principle of mass segregation. By putting the whole mass of the wastes in one machine, the vibratory action leads to the settling of the heavy, dense materials at the bottom part, while having the lighter wastes at the top. This is then packed in different trucks for transportation to the specific recycling plants.

Within a landfill, there are many wastes that can be recovered for the recycling operations. The quantities that are obtained for the landfill expressed as a percentage of the total debris within the landfill is referred to as the ‘recovery rate’. Ensuring that many waste recycling companies are established can lead to greater percentages of the waste recovered from the various landfills with the given regions.

Advantages of recycling wastes

Recycling has the effect of converting wastes into their useful states that ensures that they can be used in the most convenient forms as in the original product. Most researchers have established that the waste recycling process is potentially a cheaper means of obtaining the product than the actual manufacture of the products.

For instance, plastics are formed from the hydrocarbon materials. These are normally obtained from the oil & gas recovery materials, manufacturing them through the processes of additional polymerization until they attain the consistency in terms of quality and design is often a long process.

On the other hand, plastics are normally converted to the liquid state through the heating process; this is then moulded into the desired shapes for use. Besides, metals as well follow this procedure when being recycled. It is often easier to recycle than to manufacture a product. Therefore, less cost is utilized in the recycling process. This ensures that the nonrenewable sources are constantly in supply to supplement the scarce existing ones.

The extensive use of balling machine

Packaging of the wastes is normally the most difficult thing in the waste reclamation before it can be taken to the recycling factory. Many machines that are being used that change their shapes, forms and sorts them have been invented; however, these utilize much power and resources that are unnecessary in the reclamation process.

The use of the balling machine has become quite extensive in use. The machines are used to squeeze the wastes into the required bulks that are then easily packaged for transportation to a recycling plant. The recycling of metals has considerably utilized this technique since the most common wastes include the malleable sheets as well as the ductile shapes that are the most common wastes.

It is possible that balling machines can create a higher bulk density than even the granulators and the pulverizers. This is because they normally leave negligible spaces between the individual materials, unlike the granulators that leave relatively larger spaces between the individual materials.

The use of magnetic screens

Picking the individual steel materials from a landfill may be unrealistically difficult, besides, detecting that a given kind of debris is steel and not a rock might be very difficult especially for efficiency purposes where the speed is a factor. So far, technology has been revolutionized to facilitate this process. The use of magnetic separators has been extensively employed for the separation of metals from the huge debris that exists in a landfill. This normally ensures that the recovery rate is raised to higher percentages, unlike the manual way of detecting the steel material and other metals through the action of naked eye identification.

The debris material might be first passed through a vibratory feeder. This ensures that the materials with larger weights are segregated from the remaining trash. The segregated materials are then passed through the magnetic separators to detect the magnetic metals and separate them from the remaining debris.

excavator with magnetic attached for sorting materials for recycling

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