Recycling is the reprocessing in a production process of waste materials for the original purpose or for other purposes, including organic recycling but excluding energy recovery.
Organic recycling is the aerobic (composting) or anaerobic (biomethanisation) treatment, under controlled conditions and using micro-organisms, of the biodegradable parts of packaging waste, which produces stabilised organic residues or methane. Landfill is not considered a form of organic recycling.
Packaging waste can be recycled in the following ways:
Glass collected from bottle banks is melted down and recycled into new glass.
Collected wood is chipped and recycled into chipboard.
Collected paper/cardboard is mashed to a pulp and made into recycled paper and cardboard.
Collected plastic can be shredded and recycled into new plastic materials: for example, PET bottles are recycled into clothing, carpets and new packaging; HDPE bottles are recycled into storage boxes, laundry baskets, pipes and tubes.
Collected drink cartons are shredded and the constituent materials (cardboard, plastic and metal foil) are then separated. The cardboard is made into recycled paper and cardboard. Depending on the processing plant, the other fractions are also recycled into new products.