What is Recycling and Why is Recycling Important?


Wikipedia describes recycling as the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects.

The recyclability of a material depends on its ability to reacquire the properties it had in its virgin or original state.

It is an alternative to “conventional” waste disposal that can save material and help lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Reuse can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, thereby reducing: energy usage, air pollution (from incineration), and water pollution (from landfilling).


It is important to point out that reuse of waste is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” waste hierarchy.

Thus, recycling aims at environmental sustainability by substituting raw material inputs into and redirecting waste outputs out of the economic system.

There are some ISO standards related to recycling such as ISO 15270:2008 for plastics waste and ISO 14001:2015 for environmental management control of recycling practice.

Did You Know?:

A recycled glass container can return to a store shelf in as few as 30 days!

Recycling one can of aluminum saves enough energy to run your computer for up to 4 hours!

Making paper from recycled material cuts air related pollution by 95%!

20 new cans can be made from recycled material using the same amount of energy that it takes to make to make one brand new can!

Glass can be recycled infinitely with no loss of quality or purity!

Aluminum loses no quality during reuse. Aluminum cans can be recycled forever!

It takes 1,000 years for a plastic bottle to completely decompose!

It takes 1 million years for a glass bottle to decompose in the environment!

Types of Recycling

  • Waste Paper and Cardboard. Recycling paper is vital to ensure you reduce your environmental impact and reduce general waste. …
  • Plastic Recycling. …
  • Metal Recycling. …
  • WEEE Recycling (Electronic Devices) …
  • Wood Recycling. …
  • Glass Recycling. …
  • Clothing and Textile. …
  • Bricks and Inert Waste Recycling.

Steps to Starting a Community Recycling Program

  • Step 1: Build a team
  • Step 2: Create a plan
  • Step 3: Choose which materials to recycle
  • Step 4: Figure out collection and processing
  • Step 5: Plot a plan for preventing waste
  • Step 6: Educate the community.
Commonly mentioned Benefits of Recycling
  • Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators
  • Conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals
  • Increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials
  • Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials
  • Saves energy

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Goodspeed Kopolo
Goodspeed Kopolohttps://environcompass.com
- Former Senior Programme Officer at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification- Former Head of Emissions Trading at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change- Former Industrial Engineer at the United Nations Industrial Development OrganizationFollow the social media links below to read more about the anchor.

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