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Turning Plastic Into 'Flakes' for Recycling

This is one of the largest plastic recycling plants in the United States. It is in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Jay Chilton is head of the plant.

JAY CHILTON: "On an average week, we receive anywhere from one to 1.5 million pounds (454,000 to 680,000 kg) of bottles in to the plant."

JAY CHILTON: "We receive eight to ten trucks a day coming into the plant, and a truckload's roughly 40,000 pounds." That is more than 18,000 kilograms of plastic every day.

JAY CHILTON: "These bales on average are about 900 pounds (400 kg). They can range anywhere from 600 pounds (270 kg) to 1500 pounds (680 kg) in this configuration. This is accumulation of roughly 10 to15 weeks of deliveries." Nearly three football fields of plastic sit just a short ride from the processing center.

JAY CHILTON: "This is where the whole bottles enter the whole bottle wash -- it's just like your front-end load washing machine at your house. It's just a lot longer, and a lot bigger." Then, the plastic is broken into what the recycling industry calls "flakes." "It's kind of like your flour sifter at home when you're sifting out the big chunks of flour." Large storage areas hold the flakes before they are sent to another center, which will make them into something new. We will show you that next step in our final report on recycling. I'm Mario Ritter.