“What happens to our recycling when we drop it off?” may be a question you ask yourself.

Well, I can tell you exactly where it goes and what happens to it.

All of Hubbard County’s single-stream recycling is taken to the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Fosston in Polk County.

When the recycling arrives at the MRF, it is sent through a series of machines and sort lines. The sort lines are areas where workers pick out any contamination (trash) that is in with the recycling. The machines use size, light, air, magnets and more to sort out all of the different types of materials going through the MRF.

At the end of all of this, the recyclables are sorted into the following categories: mixed paper, aluminum cans, steel and tin cans, No. 1 plastic, No. 2 plastic and cardboard. Each material is placed in a separate bunker where these different types of recycling are then baled and marketed to end markets for recycling to be made into something new.

Currently, Hubbard County also bales a large portion of our cardboard collected from businesses and sends that directly to the end markets.

If you would like to learn more about the MRF check out https://www.co.polk.mn.us/154/Incinerator or you can view a video of the facility on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXY4nwJXskU.

Kalyn Kopacek is Hubbard County’s Minnesota GreenCorps volunteer.