Recycled Materials

Wondering where that old can goes when it is recycled? If it is aluminum chances are it ends up back as another can, typically in less then 60 days. But that is not the only thing made from recycled trash. When you take your aluminum in to be recycled it might become many things: foil, window frames, gutters or trim pieces, fencing, or even cookware. Copper is a big thing to recycle. Half the copper sold in the United States is recycled copper and can be found in the form of pipes, wire, and copper plated cookware, among other things. Steel is another metal that is recycled readily. You might not realize it bu recycled steel becomes steel beams for highrise buildings, to the frame of a new car or ever a humble tin can.

Paper can be recycled seven times before the fibers become too small to make more paper. Recycled paper can be found in many forms including writing paper, white office paper, toilet tissue, poster board, wrapping paper, cups, and greeting cards. Newspapers typically are all printed on recycled paper. If you are interested in making your own paper – you might be surprised how easy it actually is to make your own paper slurry and to form art paper for making homemade cards and other craft goods.

Sawdust and waste plastic can be used to make composite lumber, which finds life as decking, door and window frames, picnic tables and other outdoor uses. Being that it is a composite material it resists things that traditional wood would degrade under, like salt air, insects, and varied moisture levels. This is not the only use for “waste wood” another way is to reuse wood from salvage when buildings are taken down. This old wood can be turned into furniture or reused in construction for either strength timbers or decoration.

Glass is an ultimate recyclable, like metal. With the average bottle having at least a quarter of its mass made up from recycled material you can see that this is one substance that is reused many times. It can be used as accents pieces like vases and to make beads too. But melting down and reforming glass is not the only way it can be recycled. If the glass is not melted down, but crushed instead, it can be used as a filter for water treatment plants and swimming areas. Sometimes glass ends up in the ocean and after many a long year will wash up on the beach- scoured and worn. This sea glass can be collected and is a popular decorative item.

And then there is plastic. Common type 1 and 2 plastics are recycled readily and consumers who are aware will try to buy recycled plastic. What this plastic ends up as might surprise you though. You can find is as water bottles, carpet, outdoor furniture, building materials, trash bags, shower curtains, and well, just about anything. Instead of tossing that plastic bag, reuse it until it is torn then deposit it into a recycling barrel.


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