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Beyond the blue bins

Today’s video shows how the Montgomery County Maryland Recycling Facility in suburban Washington, DC, serves as one of the first links in the recycle-reuse chain. It receives more than 80,000 tonnes of mixed plastic, aluminium and other recyclable materials each year. There is some clever machinery helping sort and separate, but it’s actually quite tragic to see people paid to pluck out scraps of paper from conveyor belts of mixed materials. It doesn’t seem such a huge leap up from the even more tragic lives of the children who work and live on landfill sites in the developing world sifting through waste to find valuable scraps of metal and other substances.

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