Recycling is the process of turning used waste and materials into new products. This prevents potentially useful materials from being wasted as well as reducing energy use and pollution.
Recycling is part of the waste disposal hierarchy - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
A wide variety of different materials can be recycled, including paper, plastic, glass, metal, textiles and electronic equipment.
The idea of recycling isn’t something new, historical evidence shows that humans have been recycling various materials for thousands of years.
There are different methods of waste collection. These include drop off centers (where waste materials are dropped off at a specified location), buy back centers (where certain materials are exchanged for money), and curbside collection (where recycling vehicles are used to pick up waste material intended for recycling along residential streets).
Powerful magnets are used to sort through different types of metals.
Recycled paper can be made from three different types of paper; mill broke (paper scrap and trimmings), pre-consumer waste (paper that was discarded before consumer use), and post-consumer waste (paper discarded after consumer use, such as old newspapers).
Recycling plastic can be more difficult than other materials and plastics are not typically recycled into the same type of plastic.
Different types of plastics are labeled by numbers (plastic identification code), for example polyethylene (PET) is number 1 and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is number 3.
Recycling old aluminum uses only 5% of the energy used to make new aluminum.
Aluminum can be recycled from cans, bicycles, computers, cookware, wires, cars, planes and other sources.
Glass recycling is often separated into colors because glass keeps its color after recycling.
For every ton of recycled glass turned into new products, 315 kilograms of extra carbon dioxide that would have been released during the creation of new glass are saved.