Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Truly successful recycling involves minimizing waste along the entire life cycle of a product, from acquiring raw materials to manufacturing, using and disposing of a product. Most environmental impacts associated with the products we buy occur before we open the package, so buying products made from recycled materials is just as important as sorting waste into the right bins.

Steps to Recycling Materials

1) Collection and processing

There are several methods for collecting recyclables, including curbside collection, drop-off centers, and deposit or refund programs. After collection, recyclables are sent to a recovery facility to be sorted, cleaned, and processed into materials that can be used in manufacturing. Recyclables are bought and sold just like raw materials.

2) Processing

More and more of today's products are being manufactured with recycled content. Common household items that contain recycled materials include:

  • newspapers and paper towels;
  • aluminum, plastic, and glass soft drink containers;
  • steel cans; and
  • plastic laundry detergent bottles.

3) Purchasing new products made from recycled material

By buying new products made from recycled materials we help close the recycling loop. There are thousands of products that contain recycled content.

  • Aluminum cans
  • Car bumpers
  • Comic books
  • Glass containers
  • Newspapers
  • Paper towels
  • Steel products

Benefits of Recycling


  • Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators;
  • Conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals;
  • Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials;
  • Saves energy;
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change;
  • Helps sustain the environment for future generations;

Links For recycling