Definition of Recycling

What Is Recycling?


At its very core, recycling is the process of using a material again rather than throwing it away. Through the process of recycling, valuable materials such as plastics, cardboard, paper, and metal are processed into new products in order to keep them out of landfills, reduce energy and water consumption, minimize pollution, and save raw natural resources.

Though most of the materials collected for recycling within the residential waste stream are from packaging waste – such as plastic bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard boxes, and so on – many other types of waste can be recycled, including:

  • Organics such as yard waste and food scraps through composting systems
  • Textiles such as old clothes and waste from manufacturing
  • Building materials such as steel, concrete, roofing, wood, and drywall
  • Chemicals from industry and residential waste

Recycling is a great way to recover materials that would otherwise be lost to a landfill, but there are even better ways to reduce waste of energy, resources, and water, such as precycling (prevention of waste), reducing (waste minimization) and reusing. 

Recycling Articles


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