ROCHESTER, Minn. (Fox 47) -- Most of us have recycling bins. But do we use them? When you place your items in the bin, do you know where they go? And do you ever wonder what our recycled items are turned into?
In celebration of Earth Week, we went to the Olmsted County Recycling Center to find out.
While you're pondering what is and what isn't appropriate to recycle before you throw it away, do you ever wonder where it goes after it's picked up?
In Olmsted County, it comes to the Recycling Center at the Olmsted County Composit site - where it is sorted, crushed and bound into big bails.
"These are bailed magazines. They're bailing them up and then they'll be stacked and then put on the truck and then they'll go on to the facility to be recycled," said Sharon Shriever of the Olmsted County Composit Center.
"Like a hay bailer on a farm. That's basically how it works. These bails, I believe, weigh about 800 pounds a piece."
Carpet, airplanes, fleece jackets and coffee pots - are just a few of the things are assembled from your recycled goods.
"Plastic bottles, like this, that have a No. 2 on them, in Minnesota, a lot of times get made into plastic lumber for decking or into plastic lawn furniture," Shriever said. "Plastic bottles that have a No. 1 on them can be turned into polar fleece, or filling for pillows and jackets, or even carpet."
"Wow, so my fleece could be made out of recycled pop bottles," Fox 47 News Anchor Kelly Keiter said. "Very cool!"
"Many times, newspapers are made into things like egg cartons and other paper products," Shriever continued. "Cardboard boxes are also turned into other boxes."
You can also save a tree and recycle all the used paper you can!
"You don't have to cut down trees to make more paper," said Jack Stansfield from the recycling center. "The trees have already been cut, the material's still good. They can still be made into another product."
Stansfield says a little can go a long way.
"Things that you can put in a recycling container at home, you know, we'll take, other than, as was mentioned, the other kind of plastic. We only take number ones and twos," he added.
For a small fee, the composit site will also take used appliances, computers, TVs, workout equipment and other large items.
"We have two options for them," Stansfield said. "They can come inside the building and drop it off, but most people stop outside. We have individual containers where they can drop them off and then go on their way."
Some of these items might contain materials that may be dangerous to the environment.
"If it's hazardous waste, you just go next door to our hazardous waste facility," Stansfield said.
Jack Stansfield and Sharon Schriever from the Olmsted County Composit Site are reminding all residents that recycled materials go a long way. So Recycle on! And Happy Earth Week!
The Olmsted County recycling center is open Mondays through Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.