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Everything You Need to Know about the Types of Recycling

Do you know which is the most recycled consumer product out there? You’ll probably never guess. Eighty per cent of cars are eventually discarded and delivered for recycling. 

The process of recycling is crucial in making sure that the environment is clean and healthy. It allows many materials to be used again without undergoing the extraction and processing of raw materials. 

Many materials are recycled from the old and are considered for reuse, including metals, paper, glass, plastics, and wood.

The Three Types of Recycling

There are three different types of recycling. They are primary, secondary, and tertiary recycling. It is important to know what they are to understand better what to do with your waste. 

1. Primary Recycling

Primary recycling is the process of recycling where you can reuse and recover the material or product without altering its current state. The recyclable materials are repurposed for the same user as to how they were initially created.

For example, you can shred paper for printing and use its fibres to make new paper or cardboard. Another example is when aluminium cans are thrown away. They will be recycled into new cans to be reused again. 

Some other common recyclable materials include:

  • Electronics
  • Glassware
  • Old toys 

2. Secondary Recycling

Secondary recycling is where the materials are used to create new products. They are not reused in their original form but to make new things. The original material is broken into parts and sold in the market. 

For example, recycled glass is melted and used to make new bottles. There are also some instances where the recycled materials are made into something else. For instance, plastic bottles are turned into a carpet. The materials are reused to create a similar product that is less valuable.

3. Tertiary Recycling

In tertiary recycling, the materials are broken into small parts to create an entirely new material. These are the most complex of all recycling processes. The components are not reused to make a similar product but create an entirely different material. 

These are made into something with no resemblance to the original product. These materials are broken and mixed up with other materials. 

There are two types of materials that are created in this process.

  • Manufactured products
  • Raw materials

Types of Recycling Based on Materials

Here are the types of recycling based on materials:

1. Paper Recycling

Paper recycling is the process of recycling where paper products made of mostly wood fibres are recycled into corrugated cardboard. This is the most commonly recycled type of paper product. 

The recycling process is simple, and it only requires an electric saw, which cuts the paper into a more manageable size. The shredded paper is then collected and used to make fibre. The fibre is made into either corrugated cardboard or paper pulp to make new paper products.

2. Plastic Recycling

There are three major types of plastics for recycling—HDPE, PVC, and PET. The basic principle of the recycling process is the same for all types. 

These plastics are melted and formed into a new product. A few factors determine which type of plastic is recycled into a new product, including the purity and colour of the plastic. The highest quality of plastic is recycled into a new product.

3. Glass Recycling

Glass is one of the easiest materials to recycle. The recycling process occurs by melting the glass and reheating it to a temperature close to the original temperature. 

After the glass is cooled down, it can be used to make new glass or materials like fibreglass.


Recycling is one of the most integral factors in making sure that we preserve the environment. The recycling process is an important one. It helps many materials be used again without going to the extra effort of extracting the raw material and processing it.

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