Your waste hauler collects your trash and recycling and transports them to nearby transfer stations.
The "garbage" trucks dump the trash on one side of the station and the recycling on the other.
From there, semi trucks come to the transfer stations, and front loaders pack the trucks with the material that was dumped onto the ground; some trucks loaded with garbage and the others with recyclables. The semi trucks can haul three times the volume of a truck that picks up at your curb, making for more efficient transportation.
The semis loaded with trash go to landfills, primarily in Indiana, either in Argos or Brook.
The semi trucks loaded with recyclables go to recycling facilities in Illinois, primarily Homewood, where they are sorted, baled and sold to companies that will turn them into new products.
These sorting facilities are called materials recovery facilities or MRFs (pronounced murfs).