These items may be recycled.

The good news: Recycling keeps our city clean by turning used products, like paper, plastic and metal, into new products we use every day. We don’t have to be recycling experts to help save the planet. Our system has built-in controls to process recyclables submitted by residents and businesses and to trash items which can’t be used again.

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The bad news: It’s expensive to process large quantities of excess items in recycle centers. Each week, residents and businesses send tons of items through the recycle system which must be sorted and discarded. Our recycle centers use state-of-the-art technology to separate paper, cardboard, metals and plastics, but they still rely on thousands of man-hours, and missed items can gum up the works.

Republic Services has released a helpful (and fascinating) video of their recycling center in Plano. In it, you’ll learn everything you never knew you wanted to learn about eddy currents, optical screens and paper balers.

Fun fact: The typical cardboard bale weighs 2,500 pounds when it’s sent off to the paper mill.

Expert tip: Not all plastics can be recycled. If you can poke your finger through the plastic, it probably can’t be recycled.

Fun fact: Sixty days after you put your soda can in your blue rolling recycle bin, you’ll see it again at the grocery store.

Plea from the recycle team: Don’t bag your items – just toss them in your rolling bin. Every plastic bag must be opened by hand, and the plastic bags get caught in the machinery.

You can learn more about Dallas Sanitation Services here and recycling guidelines here.