Recycling sign

       Recycling refers to the process in which an item or its components are used to create something new. Plastic bottles are recycled and made into carpet, pathways and benches. Glass and aluminum are other commonly recycled materials. Recycling is technically a form of reusing, but it refers more specifically to items that are discarded and broken down into their raw materials. Recycling companies convert the original item and then sell the now-usable material. Some companies purchase secondhand material and use it to manufacture a new product. 

"Recycling: Good, Better, Best." Harmony. N.p., 21 Aug. 2013. Web. 17 Feb. 2016. <>.


"How a Bottle Gets Recycled." Kids Discover. Epa, 2016. Web. 18 Feb. 2016.


"Recycling Infographic." Recycling Infographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016. 

"Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in the United States 2012 Infographic." N.p., Apr. 2014. Web. Mar. 2016. <>.


"Infographic Archives - Harmony." Harmony. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016. <>.

ReCommunity - How Recycling Works

by ReCommunity Recycling / 3 years ago

Most of us know the great benefits of recycling. It helps reduce our use of raw materials. It helps to save our resources from being sent to landfills. And it even minimizes damaging greenhouse gases. But what you may not know, is how the entire process works. This is the Story of Recycling. In most communities, residents place all of their recyclables into a single container or cart. The recyclables are then collected, mixed in with other recyclables, and then hauled to a local Material Recovery Facility, or MRF. Once the unsorted resources arrive at the MRF, it is loaded onto a series of conveyers to start the sorting process. First, non-recyclables are removed by hand. Then, the material goes through a series of vibrating screens to isolate the cardboard and paper. From there, different types of paper are sorted by machines, and then hand, until they are baled. Meanwhile, while the paper is carried away, glass falls under the screens into glass crusher. Once crushed, the glass is carried out of the facility on a series of conveyor belts, and is dropped into a bunker or large container outside the MRF. At the same time, the rest of the resources continue along another conveyer belt where steel and tin cans are removed using magnets. Next, optical sorters are used to identify plastic bottles and blow a gust of air to separate them. Lastly, an eddy current isolates the aluminum. Now sorted, the separated materials are baled, and sent to reprocessing facilities. Paper is sent to a paper mill, where it is pulped, screened, cleaned, spun, pumped, pressed, wound, divided, and packed into reels. Aluminum is shredded, formed, heated, mixed, cooled, rolled, and ready to be made into more can in as little as six weeks. And finally, plastic bottles are cleaned, scanned, sorted, shredded, melted, reformed, and remade into into t-shirts, plastic bags, or more bottles. With the simple flick of a wrist, each item can be recycled and made into brand new products. Helping our economy, our earth, and our communities. So don’t throw away our future. To learn more about each part of the recycling process, visit

So what happens to your old electronics

once it enters your building’s e-waste recycling program or after you drop it off at an e-waste recycler? While the process varies, in general, this is what happens:

  1. Your old electronics might be inspected to see if they any items can be resold or refurbished, or if any parts can be reused.

  2. Items that cannot be reused are generally shredded at a recycling plant. Many facilities use an optical sorting system to identify materials using a laser beam, and separate them into plastic, metal and computer chips.

  3. The sorted materials are then sold globally, where they are recycled. E-waste can be a valuable resource since it is easier to exact some heavy metals like gold and lead from e-waste than from ore itself.  Some materials are recycled here in the U.S.  For example, glass from light bulbs is used as filler in some highways in Connecticut.


reduce symbol

       Keeping purchases to a minimum is an important way of reducing the toll on the Earth's resources. Lowering consumption is the key to the concept of reducing, which can apply to physical objects as well as natural resources, such as gas, electricity and water. Not to be confused with reusing or recycling, reducing means lowering or eradicating use from the start. Cutting back on unnecessary purchases lowers the rate at which materials are used, but also effectively lowers the energy, gas and transportation costs that are accrued when an item is made and sold. The term "reduce" clearly applies to lifestyle. Reducing driving would mean combining trips, carpooling, and walking, biking, and taking public transportation when possible. Taking shorter showers, landscaping appropriately to the local climate and replacing older, less efficient appliances with Energy Star appliances all fit under the reducing concept.

"reduce your waste" with 3 trash bins waste prevention scale"reduce your waste" with 3 arrows circling the text"reduce food waste" with picture of Earth containing the 3 arrow RRR symbolgreen "reduce" sign with arrowman riding bike with a sign that says "less waste""reduce, then recycle" sign                                        

think green before you shop infographic

"Think Green Before You Shop." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

together we can make a difference infographic

"Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in the United States 2012 Infographic." N.p., Apr. 2014. Web. Mar. 2016.

infographic on grocery store food waste

"Measuring Food Waste." FWRA Food Waste Reduction Alliance. N.p., Nov. 14. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.

waste footprint infographic

"What You Can Do." What You Can Do. N.p., 2013. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.

Reduce your business Waste to Save money Here's how we benefited from reducing and recycling waste (video)

Yorkshire Window Company Limited is a manufacturer of UPVC windows, doors and conservatories. It is a family-run business that employs over 200 people at its site near Rotherham. The business is certified to the environmental management standard ISO 14001 and is working towards EcoManagement and Auditing Scheme certification.

Here, production manager Steve Cousins describes how the business has introduced waste reduction and recycling practices to ensure that Waste is kept to a minimum.


If someone dared you, could you commit to a life where nothing you use goes into a landfill?

For the last two years or so, she has been living a "zero-waste" lifestyle. That means that for two years, as Lauren details in Seeker's "Going off the Grid" video below, nothing she has used will end up in a landfill. If she "throws" something out, it's in the recycling bin or the compost. But stuff that can't be composted or recycled? She keeps it — although most of what she uses is compostable or recyclable to begin with.



reuse symbol

       Reuse is a broad term that combines reusing materials and using items that have reusable qualities. Paper plates are an example of a non-reusable product. Cutlery that can be reused prevents waste at the landfill, but it also lowers the amount of energy needed to manufacture new products. Less pollution results, and more natural resources are left intact. Consider the possibilities of an item before discarding it, as it might be reused toward a different purpose than originally intended. An old shirt may become a car rag. Though reuse is different from reducing use, when an item is reused, consumption is reduced as a by-product.

think green before you shop infographic

"Think Green Before You Shop." EPA. Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

"why reuse a cup?" infographic

"Why Reuse a Cup?" One Green Planet. N.p., n.d. Web. 

how NBC Universal reuses infographic

"Reuse Infographic." Green Is Universal Reuse Infographic Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

reusing global water infopgraphic

"Reuse to the Rescue." Reuse to the Rescue. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

Ideas on How to Reduce and Reuse

●      Buy used. You can find everything from clothes to building materials at specialized reuse centers and consignment shops. Often, used items are less expensive and just as good as new.

●      Buy reusable over disposable items. Look for items that can be reused; the little things can add up. For example, you can bring your own silverware and cup to work, rather than using disposable items.

●      Maintain and repair products, like clothing, tires and appliances, so that they won't have to be thrown out and replaced as frequently.

●      Borrow, rent or share items that are used infrequently, like party decorations, tools or furniture.


One person's trash is another person's treasure. Instead of discarding unwanted appliances, tools or clothes, try selling or donating them. Not only will you be reducing waste, you'll be helping others. Local churches, community centers, thrift stores, schools and nonprofit organizations may accept a variety of donated items, including used books, working electronics and unneeded furniture.

Benefits of Donation

●      Prevents usable goods from going into landfills

●      Helps your community and those in need

●      Tax benefits may be available


Reuse: Opportunities for Better Use of Waste Construction Materials

Youtube animation made by Yushi Lu with Colin Rose and Professor Julia Stegemann. "In the video we explain how reuse of waste construction components could be made much more common. If you're looking for a place to sell, donate, or buy reclaimed materials, [here] are some existing marketplaces


"In this funny and insightful talk from TEDxHouston, builder Dan Phillips tours us through a dozen homes he's built in Texas using recycled and reclaimed materials in wildly creative ways. Brilliant, low-tech design details will refresh your own creative drive."



       Composting reduces the amount of waste each of us sends to the landfill. Up to 30% of the material we send to landfill is organic and could be composted at home.  Composting has other benefits too. Applying finished compost returns nutrients to the land, holds moisture in gardens and on lawns, contributes to watershed health by controlling runoff and naturally fertilizes and provides structure to the soil.

municipal solid waste infographic

"Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in the United States 2012 Infographic." N.p., Apr. 2014. Web. Mar. 2016.


recycling progress infographic

"Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in the United States 2012 Infographic." N.p., Apr. 2014. Web. Mar. 2016.

how to compost infographic

"Infographic: How-To Compost." PBS. PBS, 05 Aug. 2013. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

composting at the University of Washington

"UW Is Ready for Seattle's New Composting Law." In Our Nature: The SustainableUW Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2016.

composting in your apartment infographic

"How To Compost In Your Apartment." Sustainable America. N.p., 17 Sept. 2012. Web. 16 Mar. 2016.

Fresh Compost in Under 21 Days

"As I’ve confessed before, I’m a little bit obsessed with composting – I even moved my compost when moving house and then composted the waste created in the move. So I’m always looking for new resources for fellow would-be rotters. The video above comes to us via YouTube user, and gives detailed instructions on building an inexpensive compost tumbler which, according to the creator, can produce rich compost in 14-21 days! Looks like I have a new project on my hands…"

From KQED Science, find out how San Francisco’s 600 tons of compostable waste can be transformed into a dark, nutrient-rich material that will not only feed plants to improve the quality of what we eat and drink, but that also has the potential to offset America’s carbon emissions by over 20%. Above, agronomist Bob Shaffer takes us Inside the Compost Cycle.

Food scraps, mostly compostable, are over 30% of everyone’s garbage, and could instead help turn poor dirt into nutrient-rich soil where you live.