Massachusetts has seven processing facilities that sort and bale over 500,000 tons of recyclable each year. Recyclable are valuable commodities in today's global economy. According to the MassDEP, about half of the bottles, cans, and paper collected in Massachusetts are sold to manufacturing plants in the Northeast; the other half goes to markets in China, India, and Brazil.
Wondering what is made out of all that stuff? According to MassDEP, Paper and cardboard are turned into cereal and cracker boxes, book covers (Harry Potter books are an example), and game boards at recycling mills in Fitchburg and Haverhill. Glass bottles and jars are melted and used to make new containers at facilities such as St. Gobain Containers in Milford. Plastic soda bottles become polyester fiberfill for jackets and sleeping bags, or polar fleece made by Malden Mills in Lawrence. Milk jugs, detergent bottles, and other #2 plastics become landscaping timbers and whisky barrel planters made by Smartware Products in Leominster.
Recycling saves money. We throw away 1.5 million tons of paper every year. If we recycled just half of that amount, we would save nearly $52 million in disposal costs. Recycling means jobs. 19,000 people are employed at 1,400 recycling businesses and organizations in Massachusetts. Recycling reduces greenhouse gases. Recycling helps Massachusetts residents reduce the equivalent of 2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. That's like taking 1.6 million passenger cars of the road for a year! Recycling conserves energy and saves resources. Massachusetts saved over 85 trillion BTUs of energy last year, enough to power 820,292 homes for one year! And Massachusetts recycled enough paper last year to prevent the cutting of nearly 17 million trees.