Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. It is an alternative to “conventional” waste disposal that can save material and help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, thereby reducing: energy usage, air pollution (from incineration), and water pollution (from landfilling).

Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the “ReduceReuse, and Recycle” waste hierarchy.[1][2] Thus, recycling aims at environmental sustainability by substituting raw material inputs into and redirecting waste outputs out of the economic system.[3]

There are some ISO standards related to recycling such as ISO 15270:2008 for plastics waste and ISO 14001:2015 for environmental management control of recycling practice.

Recyclable materials include many kinds of glass, paper, cardboard, metal, plastic, tires, textiles, batteries, and electronics. The composting or other reuse of biodegradable waste—such as food or garden waste—is also a form of recycling.[4] Materials to be recycled are either delivered to a household recycling center or picked up from curbside bins, then sorted, cleaned, and reprocessed into new materials destined for manufacturing new products.

In the strictest sense, recycling of a material would produce a fresh supply of the same material—for example, used office paper would be converted into new office paper or used polystyrene foam into new polystyrene. However, this is often difficult or too expensive (compared with producing the same product from raw materials or other sources), so “recycling” of many products or materials involves their reuse in producing different materials (for example, paperboard) instead. Another form of recycling is the salvage of certain materials from complex products, either due to their intrinsic value (such as lead from car batteries, or gold from printed circuit boards), or due to their hazardous nature (e.g., removal and reuse of mercury from thermometers and thermostats).


The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (U.S.), America, and sometimes the States, is a federal republic[17][18] consisting of 50 statesand a federal district. The 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is located in the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.80 million square miles (9.85 million km2)[4] and with around 318 million people, the United States is the world’s fourth-largest country by total area and third-largest by population. It is one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries.[19]The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.[20]

The United States is a developed country and has the world’s largest national economy.[6] The economy is fueled by an abundance of natural resources and high worker productivity.[29] While the U.S. economy is considered post-industrial, it continues to be one of the world’s largest manufacturers.[30] The country accounts for 37% of global military spending,[31] being the world’s foremost economic and military power, a prominent political and cultural force, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovations.[32]