Downcycle

Most recycled industrial nutrients (materials) lose viability or value in the process of recycling. This means they can only be used in a degraded form for components other than their original use. White writing paper, for example, is often downcycled into materials such as cardboard and cannot be used to create more premium writing paper.

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7 Responses to “Downcycle”
  1. Ellen says:

    Can you explain the plastic recycling codes: 1-7? Where I live, only plastics 1 & 2 are accepted for recylcing. Must the remainder be landfilled or is there a use for them?

  2. Bobby C says:

    The same comment is true for recycling of plastic. Typically a plastic is not recycled into the same type of plastic, and products made from recycled plastics are often not recyclable. Plastic recycling rates are still far below other recycling rates, but the industry has improved in recent years. Worldwide, 7 groups of plastic polymers have been given a Plastic Identification Code that people use for recycling. Different types of plastic will be recycled by different municipalities. Generally it is difficult to recycle plastic above the numbers 1 and 2. Plastics in these higher numbers are known as rigid plastics. The Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers formed the Rigid Plastics Recycling Program in 2008 in an effort to increase rigid plastic recycling.

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  2. […] into PET bottles. This part is also unique, as most PET is not actually recycled but is instead downcycled into other products, from carpet to fleece to building material. Or soccer […]

  3. […] turned into something different; meaning recycling is usually really downcycling. According to the Dictionary of Sustainable Management, a project of the alumni and students of the Presidio Graduate […]

  4. […] tote bags and other unique items.” They refer to the process as “upcycling” as opposed to downcylcing, which occurs when a material is broken down into a new product of reduced quality or […]

  5. […] once white paper is recycled into a lesser product—known as downcycling—it can never return to an upper […]



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