With humans consuming an increasing amount of resources, the process of recycling has become more important than ever for protecting the planet. Here’s a breakdown of the process by which used products are converted into new materials:

  • Step 1: Sanitation employees come to collect the contents of recycling bins every Thursday—or is it Mondays? Whatever, just put it out there; somebody will deal with it
  • Step 2: Some fucking stray dog or something gets into your recycling bin and makes a huge mess
  • Step 3: Families gather around their recyclables to say goodbye
  • Step 4: Material is transported to the sanitation plant by a fleet of massive gas-guzzling trucks
  • Step 5: After trucks arrive at the collection station, officials will personally sign off for each recyclable to verify they have arrived safely
  • Step 6: More clattering than you can possibly imagine
  • Step 7: Perfectly good plastic containers are fished out of bins, lightly rinsed, and shipped back to delis to be refilled with food
  • Step 8: All soup cans are sent to a separate facility to be repurposed as pencil holders or stacked and bound to make stilts
  • Step 9: Material cycles clockwise through three stations in accordance with international recycling symbol
  • Step 10: Dow Chemical Co. dumps 80,000 pounds of uranium and vanadium into toxic disposal sites, offsetting the previous day’s efforts by several orders of magnitude
  • Step 11: Recycling plant employees offer strained smiles while a fifth-grade class takes a field trip
  • Step 12: Percentage of items too depressingly small to think about recycled into new materials
  • Step 13: A post-consumer sticky note is born!