What is Recycling?

At its core, recycling is the reprocessing of used materials into new products. Recycling aims to conserve and reuse valuable materials such as paper, metals, textiles, plastics and glass while reducing the consumption of virgin materials. Recycling works to cut the use of energy in the production of new products and to reduce the pollution of the air we breathe and the water that gives us life. Recycling aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the amount of trash going to the landfill.

Recycling is the third and final part of the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” waste hierarchy that encourages us to rethink the way we both consume and what we do with the waste that results from that consumption. It is important to remember that recycling is the third part of the hierarchy and that the goal of the ‘three Rs’ is to have you first reduce your consumption, then reuse what you can and finally to recycle what you no longer need.

Recycling can take on many forms. The type of recycling we are most used to is dividing up our used cans, bottles and newspapers and either putting them at the curb or taking them to the local recycling center. But recycling also involves taking your used goods to someone else in the case of old clothes and furniture or unneeded cell phones. Many charities put these items to good use for other people and you can often get a nice tax deduction for your generosity. Recycling can also seem quite challenging at times. Where do I go to recycle? How do I take care of those compact fluorescent light bulbs, old computers and construction waste in a responsible manner?

This website is dedicated to helping you better understand the need to recycle, the process of recycling, where and how to recycle and how you can “close the loop” and encourage more recycling by purchasing products made from recycled materials. We will also help you find ways to reduce your waste in the first place.

The goal of this website is not to reinvent the wheel but rather to compile the necessary information in one easy to access format and to them offer you links for those who want to dive deeper into this noble enterprise.

Why Recycle?

What Can Be Recycled?

Get started by cutting your consumption

How to start a Recycling Program

Composting – how to recycle the natural way

Where Do I Recycle?

Closing the Loop: Products Made From Recycled Materials

Reduce Your Junk Mail

Recycling: The Stats

Learn about Landfills and Methane Gas

Recycling is too difficult and 9 other obnoxious myths

Recycling resources and links…

“Zero waste is a philosophy and a design principle for the 21st Century; it is not simply about putting an end to landfilling. Aiming for zero waste is not an end-of-pipe solution. That is why it heralds fundamental change. Aiming for zero waste means designing products and packaging with reuse and recycling in mind. It means ending subsidies for wasting. It means closing the gap between landfill prices and their true costs. It means making manufacturers take responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their products and packaging. Zero waste efforts, just like recycling efforts before, will change the face of solid waste management in the future. Instead of managing wastes, we will manage resources and strive to eliminate waste.”

– Institute for Local Self Reliance (Washington DC)