Behind the Scenes

What Happens to my Recycling?

Once you put your recycling in your can, your part is done, but there is much more that happens to your items as they journey back into the loop. 

Your recyclables are consolidated with others either in a compactor, dumpster or perhaps by the city's recycling trucks. Once there is a full load, they are then transported to Balcones. By the time your recyclables reach Balcones, they have been comingled with up to eight tons of recycling. 

We are then tasked with the feat of extracting each of the different commodities. Technology has advanced in recent years to allow us to mechanically pull some materials, but sometimes the human eye is the best resource in our system. After the material is passed through a number of mechanical and manual screens, each commodity is baled, inventoried and staged until enough like material is accumulated.

Transportation is always a consideration in the recycling industry. In order to maximize our equipment, manpower and hauling, we want our outbound shipments to be full and heavy.  We've invested in top-of-the-line balers, that create very heavy, dense bales which in turn maximize our transportation and lower our costs.

The ready-to-ship material is then transported by semi truck or railcar to its next destination, where it will be further processed and returned to a state where it can be used as a raw material to create new products.

Check out an interactive journey of recyclables here:


See what we are all about.