DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At this point, most people in North Texas will recycle at least some of their trash. Recycling has become easier than ever, and it all starts with the consumer. “Recycling is a small part,” explained Old East Dallas resident Cameron Beaty, “but obviously a significant part.”

The process starts at home. When you finish a product — like a box of cereal — you put the box into your recycling tub and place the tub on the curb to be picked up. “It’s really simple in the sense that we just gather it all together and then, every Friday, we put it out front and we’re able to see it be picked up,” Beaty said.

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From there, the recycled goods are taken to a local recycling processing center to be sorted.

“It’s tipped by the transfer trailers as well as the route trucks onto the floor of the facility,” said FCC Environmental Services general manager Austin Ellis. “Then, it goes through a series of sortation. Not only human beings, but screening processes that automate it off of the sorters to divide out commodities according to their grade.”

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“Put it all into one container, and we do the work of separating it out to provide the value that’s recoverable,” added Ellis.

Most of the items in the facility are recyclable, but some are not. Be sure that you are not adding to the ‘not’ pile, which can vary by city but usually includes items like plastic bags, fabrics and garden hoses. “I think we have a general knowledge of what needs to be recycled and what doesn’t,” said Beaty.

Ultimately, our old cereal box will be on its way to be sold back into the market. What once provided breakfast will be on a store shelf again, giving it new life and saving it from a landfill. “Every ton that comes in here that we process means a ton that we’re not having to send to the landfill,” Ellis said.

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Even a small amount of recycling can make a remarkable difference. “When you see that, I think that you’re more prone to buy it, because you’re participating in the renewal and reusable opportunities that are out there,” Beaty added. “It’s really a great day when everyone wants to contribute to this.”

Anne Elise Parks