Recyclable materials can be separated at many different stages in the recycling process. The initial user of the item, who sorts it into the proper recycling bin, can separate them or the person who collects the recyclables.
It can be commingled until it reaches the MRF (Materials Recovery Facility) where it can be separated by machines and/or individuals. At the MRF, the recyclables are separated based on their material type – paper, plastics, aluminum, or glass. The separation of materials is important as it insures that the waste does not become contaminated and makes it easier when redistributing the contents to manufacturers.