From Waster to Wonder: A Short Guide To Recycling

The recycling process turns waste into new products. It’s a way to take something that would normally be thrown away and turn it into something useful. It is important as it reduces the amount of pollution in the environment. 

Many things can be recycled, including paper, plastic, and glass. There are also many ways to reduce your reliance on disposable plastics. But before we go ahead, let’s first revisit what recycling really means and how it changes our lives every day.

First, what are recyclable materials?

It’s important to know what materials can be recycled and which ones can’t. While some materials can be recycled over and over again, others can only be recycled once or not at all. The following is a list of common recyclable materials:

  • Paper: This includes newspapers, magazines, office paper, cardboard, and paperboard. Most types of paper can be recycled, but some (like tissues and paper towels) can’t.
  • Glass: Glass can be recycled indefinitely. However, it’s important to make sure that it’s clean before putting it in the recycling bin.
  • Plastics: Plastics can be divided into two categories: those that can be recycled (like water bottles and soda cans) and those that can’t (like Styrofoam). It’s important to check the recycling symbol on the bottom of a plastic container to see if it can be recycled.
  • Metal: Metal cans (including aluminum cans and tin cans) can be recycled. However, it’s important to make sure that they’re empty before putting them in the recycling bin.

How do these turn into new products?

Most people are familiar with the three recycle symbols that indicate whether an item can be recycled. However, few people know how recyclers actually turn waste into new products. 

The first step is to sort the waste into different materials, such as glass, plastic, metal, or paper mentioned above. Once the materials are sorted, they are cleaned and processed to remove any contaminants. Next, the materials are shredded or melted down and formed into pellets or other shapes. Finally, the pellets are used to create new products like sturdier recycled paper or firmer PVC plastics used in backyard decks

The exact process varies depending on the type of material being recycled, but all recyclers follow these basic steps to turn waste into new products.

Some surprising items that can be recycled

Most people know that they can recycle paper, plastic, and glass, but many other items can be recycled as well. 

For example, paint cans are often made of recyclable steel, and the paint itself can be recycled into new paint ready for another decorating project. It can also be used as a fuel source. Similarly, many types of batteries can be recycled, and cell phones can often be donated to charities. Even some items that seem like they would be impossible to recycle, like carpeting and Styrofoam, can be broken down and used in other products.

Ways you can reduce your reliance on disposable plastics

There’s no denying that plastic is a convenient material. It’s strong, lightweight, and easy to mold into almost any shape. However, plastic also has a major downside: it’s non-biodegradable, meaning that it can take centuries to break down in the environment. Because of that, disposable plastic is a major source of pollution, and they’re increasingly becoming a problem for both land and marine life. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to reduce your reliance on disposable plastics.

One simple way to cut down on plastic waste is to carry reusable shopping bags with you when you go to the store. Most supermarkets now sell reusable bags made from durable materials like canvas or nylon. These bags can be used over and over again, and they’ll last much longer than the flimsy plastic bags that are typically used for groceries. 

Another way to reduce your reliance on disposable plastics is to invest in reusable water bottles or coffee cups. These days, there are all sorts of attractive and durable reusable water bottles and coffee cups on the market. And if you’re worried about forgetting your reusable bottle at home, many establishments now offer discounts if you bring your own cup or bottle. It can range from your neighborhood deli to specialty osteopathy clinics, they are all doing their part on this recycling journey.

Finally, try to avoid purchasing products that come wrapped in excessive amounts of plastic packaging. Look for items that are sold in bulk or that come in minimal packaging. You may have to put in a bit more effort to find these types of products, but it will be worth it in the long run.


Plastic pollution is a major environmental problem, but there are things you can do to reduce your reliance on disposable plastics. Try carrying reusable shopping bags and water bottles, and avoid purchasing products that come wrapped in excessive amounts of plastic packaging. By making small changes in your everyday life, you can help make a big difference for the environment.