Recycling is the process of reclaiming materials from used products or materials from their manufacturing and using them in the manufacturing of new products. It is different from Reuse, where products are not destroyed and remanufactured but cleaned and repaired to be used again, also known as remanufacturing. Another strategy to use resources more efficiently includes reducing the use of materials needed for product and process manufacturing, also known as dematerialization.
Many products are now marked with a variety of recycling symbols meant to help consumers and waste managers in separating recycled products and materials. Not all materials and products can be recycled, however. Those designed for disassembly or made from one material are the easiest. Even when used materials and products are recycled, often there is no economically viable market for these materials and they are either disposed of with other waste or stored in warehouses for future uses.


3 Responses to “Recycle”
  1. RBW says:

    Can you please clarify? Does ‘recycle’ require the material be used to make the same product type as it was before discard or disposal? i.e., do aluminum cans need to be reecycled to aluminum cans? Does plastic need to be recycled to plastic items? My point is that organic (carbon containing materials) such green waste, wood waste, food, paper, AND plastics can also be converted to energy products such as heat, power, and liquid fuels.
    Would energy products from discarded resource be considered recycling?

  2. nathan says:

    Undoubtedly, different people or organizations have different definitions of Recycling. However, any recycling of any material (whether used to make the same thing or not) can be considered recycling. See Upcycle for a definition of recycled materials being used in the manufacturing of products with equal or better material properties.
    Using materials for converting to energy (such as burning) wouldn’t be considered recycling.

  3. Eric says:

    Can you elaborate on recycled content and consistency between organizations like FTC, EPA or ISO defining what recycled content means, and exactly what is covered in these definitions.

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