What Happens to My Recyclables?
All recyclable materials are brought to Integrated Paper Recyclers processing facility in North Andover. At the facility all the material is weighed, sorted and baled. IPR services 43 towns, commercial business and post offices in the area. An estimated 5000 tons of paper and 1000 tons of commingle are handled and processed by IPR monthly.

At IPR, the processing of commingle recyclables is assisted by advanced sorting technology. The first step of the recycling process is the dumping of the recyclables out of the truck onto the floor of the plant. One area of the plant is set aside for paper while another is designated for the commingle. IPR has a joint venture with the Newark Group who has two paper mills in the area. Therefore, once the mixed paper and cardboard is dumped on the floor it is first baled and then packed into trailers and driven to either of the two paper mills. At the mills, the paper is processed into paperboard. Paperboard is used for: book covers, game boards, and cereal/Kraft boxes.

The process of sorting commingle begins when the material is pushed onto a conveyor belt with a backhoe. As the material flows along the belt, metals (aluminum and tin) are yanked out via eddy current magnets and dropped into a holding area. Broken glass is shaken out for further processing. Another conveyor belt processes the glass into tiny pieces until it reaches a Department and Environmental Protection approved "3/8th minus" (a material that resembles sand) and used for various approved applications. The remaining material; plastics numbered 1-7, is sorted by an optical reader. The reader enables the automated separation of plastics by using a computer controlled infrared sensor placed above the conveyor belt. The sensor identifies the materials by the shape, texture and color as well as position of the object. Once read, the materials are sorted by air jets into appropriate holding areas.

Once everything is thoroughly sorted, each material is baled separately and exported to companies in other states that reprocess the material to make new products.

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1. What Happens to My Recyclables?