The 4 steps of household packaging recycling:
Household packaging is collected by collection companies commissioned by local authorities. There are two collection systems in France: the door-to-door system, where packaging is collected directly from residents, and the drop-off system, where residents bring their packaging to sorting bins.
The collected packaging is then sent to the sorting centers, where it is sorted according to its material (plastic, metal, paper/cardboard). The sorting centers use state-of-the-art technologies to sort the different types of packaging, such as eddy currents to separate metals and optical technologies to sort plastics according to their color or composition. Metal, plastic and paper/cardboard packaging is compacted to facilitate transport to recycling sites.
Once sorted, the packaging is sent to recycling plants, where it is transformed into recycled raw materials. Plastic packaging is generally crushed and melted down into granules.
The metals will be melted down and the paper and cardboard transformed into paper pulp and then into reels to make new sheets of paper for use in printing or packaging to make cardboard.
The recycled raw materials are then incorporated into new products, such as plastic bottles, metal cans and recycled paper/cardboard. Packaging producers use these raw materials to manufacture new packaging, thereby reducing consumption of natural resources (water, energy, etc.).