We believe in recycling. All RecycleSmart blue cart materials are sent to the franchised processing facility, Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery (MDRR), in Pittsburg, CA. MDRR has invested in state-of-the-art technology to make sure recycling is easier for our community and our planet. It all starts with YOUR empty, clean, and dry blue cart materials. Let's see how Ali the Aluminum can gets processed at the facility…
First, recyclables (like Ali) are carried across a sorting line where staff members hand pick out any trash.
Next, a magnet picks up the tin cans and other metal objects—but not Ali, since aluminum isn't naturally magnetic!
Now it's time for a blow dry! Jets of air push paper and cardboard away to be baled in a different area.
Say cheese! Optical sorters find and remove anything remaining that cannot be recycled.
Ali's ready for her appointment in the Eddy Current, a machine that makes her atoms wiggle so she becomes magnetic!
During her magnetic massage, the labels and dye on Ali and her friends are removed. Now they can join other cans to start their new life!
Even though Mt. Diablo Resource Recovery has the finest sorting technology, what you put in the blue cart matters! Some items can create a lot of grief in the sorting process.
These should stay OUT of the blue recycling cart:
Here's what CAN be recycled:
It's important to make sure your items are empty, clean and dry when they go into the blue cart. It helps the machine capture all those good recyclables! For more recycling information, please go to RecycleSmart.org/houses/blue-cart
Check out the mega machine that sorts your recyclables!
Provides an even, steady flow of material into the system, with help from MDRR staff
Separates cardboard from paper, containers and smaller scrap items
Debris Roll Screen®
This ramp with holes in it lets fine materials fall while paper and containers roll up
Polishing Screen #1
Separates medium-sized (6-12”) mixed paper from containers an scrap materials
Polishing Screen #2
Separates small (2-6”) mixed paper, containers and scrap materials
NRT Optical Sorter #1
Recovers small cardboard
NRT Optical Sorter #2
Near-infrared technology removes any remaining contaminants from mixed paper
Attracts and pulls out materials containing iron (like steel cans)
NRT Optical Sorter #4
Separates plastics, like food and drink containers, or cleaning products
NRT Optical Sorter #5
Recovers PET plastics
Eddy Current Separator
Activates electrons in aluminum to capture them with magnetism
Compresses recyclables into bales, ready for shipping
Congratulations to our 2022 Scholarship winners! This year, RecycleSmart awarded scholarships to three outstanding students for leading recycling and composting initiatives at their schools. These students continue working towards sustainability and bringing positive change to their communities.
Sophia was the Environmental Club leader at Acalanes High School and a RecycleSmart school intern! She educated fellow students about the benefits of sorting their waste and reducing what goes to the landfill by organizing a successful clothing drive. This fall, she will study Biology at UC Davis.
Aya was also a RecyleSmart school intern and Green Team member, and helped launch a campus-wide recycling and composting program at Las Lomas High. When she moved and attended Miramonte High, she collaborated with team members to host a virtual Earth Day Summit and created a Sorting 101 video to educate the broader Central Contra Costa community. She plans to attend Saint Mary’s College to study psychology this fall.
Devon is the founder and leader of the Miramonte Environmental Solutions Club and Project HEART. Devon focused on improving sorting and reducing waste at his school, which resulted in a 75% diversion rate for Miramonte High School! In August 2021, he helped influence the Orinda City Council to ban polystyrene. Devon will continue his journey this fall studying climate science at UCLA.
If you or someone you know is a stellar recycling scholar, visit RecycleSmart.org/schools to learn about scholarships for Spring 2023.
A tip from Lewis A., Walnut Creek
My local coffee shop is encouraging customers to bring their own mugs by offering a 10 cent discount.
As a big coffee lover, I was so excited to hear I could get my favorite drink for less! I don't like having to use disposable cups when I pick up coffee on the go. I've been bringing my favorite mug to this coffee shop and I've noticed others are starting to do the same.
I've also heard that some restaurants allow customers to bring their own to-go containers. That's definitely a step up from coffee mugs and a great way to reduce waste.
So, fellow coffee lovers: let's keep our waste low with our cup of Joe!
Can you sort these things? Count each item above and write the number in the box below. Check out our kids recycling sorting game at RecycleSmart.org/game