List of Materials That Are Recyclable

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Few items people own and use each day are not recyclable to some degree. Clothes, dishes, silverware and other products are chosen because they can be used, cleaned and then reused over and again. Other items can become multi-tasking recyclable products. Instead of emptying the plastic container of dishwashing detergent and then discarding, use the container as a wash bucket or tool container. Many other items often sent to landfills can be recycled as well.


All metal and things made from metal can be recycled. Scrap steel is America’s most recycled metal. It’s the most used metal in the country and it’s needed to produce new steel. Copper, lead, aluminum, gold and silver are also recycled. It’s much more economical to recycle these metals than to mine and refine them. In the case of aluminum, it takes six times more energy to produce an aluminum can from aluminum ore than from a recycled can.


Manufacturing new paper from used paper is more energy-efficient than making new paper from wood, produces far fewer ecological effects than pulping wood and saves landfill space. Save some trees! Most all types of paper can be recycled. Newspaper is the number one type of paper recycled and can easily be remanufactured back into newsprint. Other easily recyclable papers include: phonebooks, junk mail, cardboard and pasteboard, magazines, envelopes and computer paper.


All types of glass can be recycled. Some collection spots require separating clear glass from brown, green or other colors, but all of it can be remelted and reused, saving landfill space and the energy required to produce new glass, and making new glass products more affordable. When everything else in a landfill has decomposed, rusted, corroded away or otherwise been transformed to elemental form, glass will still be there, almost as perfect as the day you tossed it out.


Because of cost, weight and the variety of shapes, hardness, flexibility and other specifics of plastic, it’s used to manufacture uncountable numbers of products. All plastic is recyclable, though some polymers are more suited than others. Since 1988, many plastic products have a plastic resin code molded onto them that identifies if it was made from recycled materials and the type of plastic used in its manufacture. This code serves as a guide to recyclers as to how suitable it is to be recycled.


About the Author

Mike Schoonveld has been writing since 1989 with magazine credits including "Outdoor Life," "Fur-Fish-Game," "The Rotarian" and numerous regional publications. Schoonveld earned a Master Captain License from the Coast Guard. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife science from Purdue University.

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