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The EPA states, ¨Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products.¨ This reduces the amount of waste let out by processing new materials. The typical items that can be recycled are plastic, paper, aluminum, glass, and even iron and steel scraps.

Recycling has many benefits such as reducing the number of natural resources that are needed. The use of petroleum, natural gas, mineral ores, coal, and trees is reduced, which helps with overusing these precious resources. The energy used to process the raw materials used to make products is also brought down. When products are recycled, there is less solid waste. This lessens what goes to landfills as well as the pollution of water, air, and land. The recycling industry also provides numerous career opportunities.

There are three main steps in recycling.

  1. Collection and processing- the curbside collection/drop-off center items are sent to a recovery facility where they are cleaned, sorted, and processed.

  2. Manufacturing- New products are made from the recycled materials.

  3. Purchasing recycled materials- Products made from recycled materials are purchased and shipped out where they will be sold. Thousands of products are made with these recycled materials.

Common terms used for recycling:

  • Recycled content- A product that was manufactured with recycled materials.

  • Post-consumer content- Products made only from recycled material.

  • Recyclable product- Products that can be collected, processed, and manufactured into new products after they have been used.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are certain keys to success for a recycling system to work. First of all, we must reduce the amount of waste that we produce in the first place. Reduction of waste overall makes recycling much more doable. Second, we must all know and follow the recycling rules, which include knowing what can go into the recycling bin and making sure it’s clean. One of the greatest struggles for the recycling industry is getting people to use the system right.


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