Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects.
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It is an alternative to "conventional" waste disposal that can save material and help lower greenhouse gas emissions.
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range.
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Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, thereby reducing: energy usage, air pollution, and water pollution.
Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle" waste hierarchy.
Waste hierarchy is a tool used in the evaluation of processes that protect the environment alongside resource and energy consumption from most favourable to least favourable actions.
Reuse is the action or practice of using an item, whether for its original purpose or to fulfil a different function.
Thus, recycling aims at environmental sustainability by substituting raw material inputs into and redirecting waste outputs out of the economic system.
In ecology, sustainability is the property of biological systems to remain diverse and productive indefinitely.
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.
ISO 14000 is a family of standards related to environmental management that exists to help organizations minimize how their operations negatively affect the environment ; comply with applicable laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements; and continually improve in the above.ISO 14000 is similar to ISO 9000 quality management in that both pertain to the process of how a product is produced, rather than to the product itself.
Recyclable materials include many kinds of glass, paper, cardboard, metal, plastic, tires, textiles, batteries, and electronics.
A tire or tyre is a ring-shaped vehicle component that covers the wheel's rim to protect it and enable better vehicle performance.
Electronics is the science of controlling electrical energy electrically, in which the electrons have a fundamental role.
The composting or other reuse of biodegradable waste—such as food or garden waste—is also a form of recycling.
Biodegradable waste includes any organic matter in waste which can be broken down into carbon dioxide, water, methane or simple organic molecules by micro-organisms and other living things by composting, aerobic digestion, anaerobic digestion or similar processes.
Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed in a process called composting.
Materials to be recycled are either delivered to a household recycling center or picked up from curbside bins, then sorted, cleaned, and reprocessed into new materials destined for manufacturing new products.
In the strictest sense, recycling of a material would produce a fresh supply of the same material—for example, used office paper would be converted into new office paper or used polystyrene foam into new polystyrene.
Polystyrene is a synthetic aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene.
This is accomplished when recycling certain types of materials, such as metal cans, which can become a can again and again, indefinitely, without losing purity in the product.
However, this is often difficult or too expensive, so "recycling" of many products or materials involves their reuse in producing different materials instead.
Another form of recycling is the salvage of certain materials from complex products, either due to their intrinsic value, or due to their hazardous nature.