CHESAPEAKE -- Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a television for three hours. That same can can be recycled over and over again.
It goes from your house to the blue curbside bin for pickup or you take it to a recycling center. From the blue bin, items head to TFC Recycling, not the landfill.
A loader picks up items and puts them on the processing line, where items that can’t be processed are sorted out.
"Some of the main offenders are your garden hoses and plastic bags that really jam up the equipment," explains Ed Farmer, vice president of business development for TFC Recycling.
Machines automatically carry some items, like cardboard, forward while smaller items like cans and bottles fall to another sorting line. Optical sorters use cameras timed with air jets to identify small paper products and blow them out of the stream. The line gets more and more pure until mostly cans and bottles are left. Large magnets remove steel cans, leaving only plastic and aluminum ones. Magnets are again used, this time to create an eddy current that repels the aluminum cans into the aluminum bin and allows the plastic to fall in with the plastics. Just the aluminum goes up a conveyor belt and into a bailer, where it’s crushed for shipment and ready for a new life.