What Materials Can Be Recycled?

Not sure what items around your house are suitable for recycling? This page will cover all materials that an informed layman and consumer should be aware of regarding most commonly known recyclable materials. We will also discuss some materials that are not widely known to be recyclable. There should be special attention given to materials that are poorly understood and/or hard to recycle.

What Materials Can Be Recycled / Paper

Most kinds of paper can be recycled.

recycled paper

Prices of virgin paper pulp have been increasing in recent years. As a result more plants capable of handling and reprocessing waste paper are being built.

-photo to the left is sensemaybenumbed.-

An important thing to note about the recycling process of paper is collecting large volumes of clean, uncontaminated, well sorted, and dry paper.

Paper products have to be labeled meaningfully so that consumers can be aware of what they are buying in a paper product.

The term “Recycled Paper” can be manufactured from 100 percent true recycled paper to paper containing just 1 percent remanufactured roll ends.
What Materials Can Be Recycled / Steel, Glass, Aluminum Cans, and Foil

These recyclables are often easy to recognize.

recycled steel firepitMost people don’t have any trouble sorting these materials properly. Glass, steel, copper, aluminum cans, and other metals are easily recognizable and quite easy to recycle.

The fire pit depicted at the left was made from recycled steel. The photo is by John T. Unger.

However, glass bottles must not be mixed with any other type of glass like light bulbs, Pyrex plates, glass tableware, auto glass, and window glass.

Ceramics contaminate glass and are very difficult to sort out. The most valuable glass waste is clear glass. Mixed color glass is almost worthless. Broken glass is also difficult to sort.

Aluminum cans are easily recycled and they have only to be cleaned a little bit to save water. Aluminum cans should be cleaned just enough to prevent odors and it is no longer necessary to remove labels for processing. The high heat used in glass and metal reprocessing is enough to take care of the problem of contamination.

What Materials Can Be Recycled / Plastic

recycled plastic grocery bagThe variety of plastics (plastic bottles, clamshell packaging, PET, etc.) that can be recycled is getting wider and with a certain amount of care much plastic waste can be recycled.

The major problem regarding plastics recycling is that different types of plastics must not be mixed for recycling yet it is virtually impossible to tell one type from another merely by looking at them or even by touching them.

The grocery bag to the left was manufactured with recycled plastic. Photo is by Nina-Ja.

A small amount of the wrong type of plastic can ruin a whole batch being reprocessed.

The plastic industry has tried to solve this problem by developing a set of Cryptic Markers. These can be seen on the bottom of plastic containers.

These markers indicate only the type of plastic from which that particular container is made from.

Types 1 and 2 are the most widely accepted in container form. Type 4 is accepted sometimes even when it is in bag form. Type 7 has virtually no recycling potential. Place only the indicated type inside the bin of your local collection agency.

What Materials Can Be Recycled / Sources


Local/Denver http://www.disposal.com/
Australia http://www.recycleaustralia.org/

For more information on recycling certain materials near you just input the phrase, recycling ‘whatever material’ in ‘your area’ in your search engine search bar. Or go to earth911.com.

For more information on other types of materials that can be recycled and about why recycling is important follow these links:

Recycling Lead

Recycle Carpet

Recycle Clip Art

Recycling Ink Cartridges

Recycling Metals

Recycling Old Computers

Recycling Paper

PET Recycling

Recycling Plastic Bottles

Recycling Styrofoam

Recycling Tires

Recycling Water

Recycling Rubber

Recycle Computers

Recycle Paint

Cardboard Recycling

Recycling Appliances

Recycle Newspapers

Recycle Televisions

Recycle Grey Water

Toner Cartridge Recycling

Recycle Electronics

Recycle Aluminum

Concrete Recycling

History of Recycling

Recycling For Kids

Recycling Benefits

Recycling Clip Art

Recycling Process

Recycling Statistics

Recycling Slogans

Recycling Symbol

What is Recycling

Why is Recycling Important

Interesting Recycling Facts

Help the Environment by Recycling

Interesting Facts About Recycling in Australia

Return From What Materials Can Be Recycled to the Benefits of Recycling home page.