You probably wonder where your Phoenix recycling goes once the hauler empties the blue carts on the curbside. Recycling, in a nutshell, refers to the process in which you transform the products after use into raw materials.

One of Phoenix’s goals is to achieve zero waste by the year 2050. And one of the plans to help achieve this is through the expansion of the recycling programs in Phoenix.

This is a good reason for you to reduce the garbage filling the landfills and create a pollution-free environment.

This post’s goal is to enlighten you on how your recyclable garbage moves from your curbside to the manufacturing plant.

But first,

What is the collection process of recyclables? 

There are two processes of collection depending on the local guidelines on recycling—Dual and single-stream recycling. The dual-stream process is where you sort out the recyclables before sending them to the material recovery facility. 

And this means you will need different bins for each of your recyclable materials.

Often, consumers see this process as tedious and time-consuming.

That is why there is single-stream recycling where you put all the recyclable trash in one curbside bin. The material recovery facility will separate your recyclables at the facility.

Stages of your recycling.

To understand where your recycling ends up in Phoenix, knowing how it moves once you place them at the curbside is crucial. 

Step one: Recyclables collection 

This is the first stage where your hauler comes to empty the recyclable garbage in your recycling bin. You can either use the city services or hire an independent hauler to handle your recyclables from the curb. 

The truck will move your recyclable garbage to a city-run material recovery facility. This is where all the recycling work begins. 

where does your phoenix recycling go

Step two: Unloading

The garbage trucks will unload the garbage at MRF, and the facility will utilize workers and equipment to sort out your recyclable trash.

At the MRF, your recyclables go through a material sorting and separation process. 

Thanks to cutting-edge recycling technology, the facility separates individual materials before sending them over for further processing. 

Step three: The conveyor belt

Once the trucks unload the trash, it is put in a conveyor belt to sort them out. The first stage in the conveyor is the elimination of paper products like cardboard and newspapers. The non-paper materials continue down the conveyor while the separated paper goes to processing,

Down the line, magnets eliminate ferrous material like iron and steel and place them in a container as the rest of the garbage move along the line. 

The following material to come out of the line is aluminum products. Plastic materials will come out next and finally glass.

Any contaminated waste will go straight to the landfills, where the recyclers bury them safely to avoid polluting the environment.


Once the sorting of materials at the MRF is over, the material is sent to various factories for further processing.

For instance, the recycled paper goes to a paper mill, where it undergoes a de-inking process to eliminate any ink on it. After blending, it forms a pulp slurry that goes through further cleaning, and finally, new raw material is ready to make new papers and cardboards.

The exact process goes for other materials like metal, iron, aluminum, and plastic.

Remember, the recycled raw material can make the same product or repurpose it into other valuable products.

For instance, recycled plastics can manufacture carpets and furniture, while recycled glass can be the raw material to make useful products like ornaments, tiles, and doorknobs.

Remember, the rule of thumb in recycling is to ensure that your recyclables are free from contamination like plastic bags.