Our single stream recycling, where everything goes into one container, is very convenient for residents. All the sorting is done at the recycling center, using a combination of machines and people.
But there's one thing that really messes up the whole process — PLASTIC BAGS! So please don't put plastic bags of any kind into your recycling bin.
The Problem: This is what the sorting machine should look like, and what it looks like when it's fed too many plastic bags:
The recycling facility actually has to shut down the entire production line and have workers climb into the machinery with knives and saws to cut out the plastic.
Take a look at this video of the process at the recycling facility for the city of Chicago: