You might be surprised just how much potential a used beverage container has, and how many different things it can become.

Some materials are recycled into products that can be recycled again. For example, used aluminum cans often become new cans. This is called “closed-loop recycling.” Other times, materials find new life as something not easily recycled—for example, plastic may be used in carpets. This is called “open-loop recycling.”

Plastic

All plastic containers, including PET and HDPE, are sent to the Novapet recycling plant in Amherst, Nova Scotia. There, plastic is ground into chips that are sold to various manufacturers, who use them in new products.

Possible uses for recycled plastic:

  • New plastic containers and packaging
  • Insulation for jackets and sleeping bags
  • Fibre for carpets
  • Fabric for hats, sweaters, jackets or t-shirts

Glass

Glass is sent to RAYAN in Moncton, New Brunswick. There, the glass is crushed into fine pieces called “cullet” and sold to markets throughout North America for production of new products.

Possible uses for recycled glass:

  • New glass bottles
  • Fibreglass insulation
  • Reflective asphalt paint

Tetra and Gable

Tetra and gable top containers (such as juice boxes) are sent to the Great Northern Recycling plant in Hantsport, Nova Scotia. The material is mixed with water to create a pulp mixture that allows paper fibre to be separated from the plastic layers and coatings. The paper fibre is then manufactured into boxboard and other materials.

Possible uses for recycled tetra and gable:

  • Boxboard for products like cereal and crackers
  • Paper towel
  • Tissue
  • Corrugated cardboard

Aluminum Cans

Aluminum cans are sent to the Evermore Recycling facility in Oswego, New York. There, the aluminum is shredded, melted and rolled into sheets to be cut into new aluminum products.

Possible uses for recycled aluminum:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Aluminum foil
  • Pie plates
  • Small appliances
  • Siding

Steel Cans

Almost all the original material from steel containers is recovered during recycling. Steel is sent to Newco Metal in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. There, it is loaded onto trucks with other reclaimed steel and sent to markets throughout North America for production of new steel products.

Possible uses for recycled steel:

  • Steel cans
  • Appliances
  • Automobiles
  • Construction materials