|Recycling is the reuse of materials that would otherwise
be considered waste. Those materials can be sources from pre-consumer waste
(materials used in manufacturing) or post-consumer waste (materials discarded
by the consumer).
In theory, recycling would be a continuing reuse of materials for the same purpose, but in practice much recycling extends the useful life of a material, but in a less versatile form. For example, as paper is recycled, the fibers shorten, making it less useful for higher grade papers. Other materials can suffer from contamination, making them unsuitable for food packaging. That is not to say that recyling is a timewasting endeavour. Many goods are suitable for recycling, such as toner cartridges. In this area particularly, suppliers of the original cartridges are willing to take them back free of charge and refurbish them for use again.
Recycling is an important alternative to throwing rubbish away. Many manmade products are not easily biodegradeable and so take up space in rubbish pits, also known as landfills. For example, silly putty, a waste product of the process to create rubber, is one of the most resilent materials to biodegrading.
Of the 24 OECD-countries where figures were available only 16% of household
waste was recycled in 2002. Several U.S. states, such as Oregon, have
passed laws which establish deposits or refund values on beverage containers
in order to promote recycling