Recycling refers to the process of converting used materials such as paper and plastics into new and usable products. This process is performed to prevent the increase of waste products generated, to minimise the utilisation of raw materials, to reduce the consumption of energy, to lessen air pollution caused by incineration, to prevent water contamination, to reduce the demand for new waste disposal facilities, and lower the emission of greenhouse gases. Recycling is an essential part of waste management and the third element of the waste structure commonly known as ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’.
Used materials which can be recycled include plastic, glass, metal, paper, clothing, and electronic parts. Reprocessing and composting of biodegradable waste products, which include food leftovers and garden wastes, is not usually described as recycling, though the processes are just the same. Recyclable materials can be transported to a waste collection centre or placed on one side of the highway to be collected by daily garbage collectors. After collection, these materials are classified according to type and cleaned before they are recycled.
Recycling of waste products creates new materials. For instance, used paper can be made into cardboard or other things of the same nature.
Recycling also involves recovery of a particular material or substance from certain products that may be of substantial value, such as gold from computer parts and lead from car batteries. Some substances such as mercury are also recovered because of their hazardous nature.