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Questions tagged [recycling]

using materials that would otherwise be waste to manufacture new materials. For questions specifically on [upcycling] use that tag, for questions on [reuse] use that tag.

38
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5answers
154k views

Can I recycle plastics at home by melting and molding?

I would like to know if it is possible to recycle plastic at home by melting and molding. Is it at all possible? What technique or technology do I need? Can it be done with any plastic? Are there ...
57
votes
5answers
10k views

Which is more sustainable: aluminium can, plastic bottle or glass bottle?

I was wondering which drink container is the most sustainable one, when looking at the big picture (complete life cycle analysis). So far, I can see the few following points: Transport: plastic and ...
13
votes
2answers
680 views

When recycling paper or cardboard, what level of contamination with (food) oils is ok?

It's widespread knowledge that paper or cardboard contaminated with oil can cause problems in the recycling process, and an often stated rule is that contaminated material should not be recycled. ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

How is compostable plastic recycled/composted industrially?

I know that you need industrial facilities to compost compostable plastics within a reasonable timeframe. But how does this process work exactly? How long does it take? Is it simply a matter of doing ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do we think of biodegradable plastic as recycled and sustainable?

I look at the questions here and see what is taught to us by the mainstream propaganda: non-degradable plastic is unsustainable and, thus, we must prefer the biodegradable one. But let us consider the ...
16
votes
1answer
5k views

Where can I recycle #81 composite materials?

I noticed my pet food bag has a recycling symbol with a new number in it, #81: The only resource I've found about this symbol is the Wikipedia page on recycling codes, which describes it as Paper/...
13
votes
4answers
6k views

Are used “blister packs” recyclable?

Now, in management of recurring everyday waste, this is something totally unavoidable. Are tablet strips (what they call blister pack strips), after use, recyclable? Can they be dumped with dry ...
6
votes
1answer
208 views

What is current best practice for setting up recycling?

I'm interested in public policy as regards recycling. I recently read an interesting Atlantic article on single-stream recycling, which noted that single-stream certainly makes it as easy as possible ...
37
votes
5answers
17k views

Is it better to recycle or compost brown paper bags?

When you go to the grocery store, you may get brown paper bags. These can be readily recycled, however, they could also be composted. I would think that recycling requires energy, whereas composting ...
13
votes
3answers
10k views

What is the relationship between recycling and sustainability?

What are the sound reasons (let's put aside the unsound reasons) why increasing recycling is taken to improve sustainability (or equivalently to reduce unsustainability)? Are there real-world ...
22
votes
5answers
17k views

How should I collect and convert rain water into drinking water?

I would like to convert my current rain gutter system into a collection and recycling process. Currently the water is just runoff and ends up in the storm sewer creating more work for my cities aging ...
37
votes
4answers
2k views

Are pizza cardboards stained with oil still recyclable?

I was told some months ago that paper and cardboard recycling processes need clean raw material. In particular, paper stained with oil may be inappropriate to recycle, and should rather be thrown away....
24
votes
4answers
381 views

Is it sustainable or necessary to use potable water to wash waste before recycling?

I live in a major metropolitan area in the United States, and we have a municipal recycling pick-up program. They advise us to wash food containers prior to putting them in our bins, and if an item ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

Large-scale reuse of glass bottles

Reading some comments on the question comparing various materials from which bottles are made, the thought arose: indeed, what prevents large scale collection and reuse of glass tare? When I was ...
14
votes
2answers
104 views

Does transporting plastic offset the benefits of recycling it?

Apparently China has been processing about half the world's waste until this year, and most of that waste is transported over the ocean in large container ships. Recycling plastic uses less energy and ...
18
votes
2answers
996 views

Which is more sustainable: Paper Bags or LDPE Bags?

At the grocery store, many offer a choice between brown paper bags (often doubled) or Low Density Poly-Ethylene (LDPE) plastic bags. If you plan to recycle in either case, which solution is more ...
17
votes
1answer
142 views

Long-term sustainability concerns of compact flourescent vs incandescent light bulbs

There is a strong movement to push people away from using incandescent lightbulbs in favor of compact flourescent bulbs in order to save energy, but the pollution profiles of these bulbs are very ...
14
votes
1answer
22k views

Can carbon fibre be recycled?

Over time the range of products using carbon fibre appears to be increasing. Carbon by itself is probably quite environmentally friendly, but manufacturing of carbon fibre is probably quite expensive ...
13
votes
5answers
289 views

How 'clean' should something be for recycling?

Outside my apartment, there are 3 rubbish bins. One for glass, another for metals, paper and plastics and a third without a label, for bio-waste I guess. So I wonder what are some guidelines for when ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

Reusing, recycling or disposal of used or expired cooking oil

I have found the article How to Dispose of Cooking Oil where are these suggestions: reuse: filter and put into a freezer or a fridge for later reuse different purpose reuse: lava lamp, snow shovel ...
8
votes
1answer
226 views

How much of paper gets recycled?

I am a grad student who can't stand reading pdfs on a laptop. Combined with my minor ADD, I always end up on reddit or stackexchange websites wasting time. Also, when I present my research to my ...
6
votes
2answers
163 views

Recycling paper at home

What are, in your opinion or according to your direct experience, the easiest and most convenient way to recycle and re-use paper at home?
5
votes
1answer
703 views

What are the five most widely used consumer products made of recycled plastic?

By most widely used I mean in terms of sales annually (worldwide). With consumer products I follow the definition found on the BusinessDictionary, referring to merchandise or other item of common or ...
5
votes
3answers
442 views

What will be the effect of PET-eating bacteria in society?

In a very recent paper scientists talk about the discovery of a bacterium ("Ideonella sakaiensis") which can "eat" PET, one of the most common types of plastic. I was wondering what effect this ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Does waste in public recycle bins (almost) always get recycled?

Dumping recyclable cups (when you forgot your own, or it's dirty) in the public recycle bins seems like an easy decision. But, I've noticed that the recycle bins at places like Starbucks are ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

Are incandescent light bulbs recyclable?

Can standard incandescent (i.e., non-energy-efficient) light bulbs be recycled? If so, what is the best way to recycle them?
16
votes
1answer
371 views

What percentage of plastic drinking bottles is recycled after use, worldwide?

I often hear that, although plastic bottles can be recycled quite efficiently, only a percentage of them gets effectively recycled. I have heard about shipments to Africa to pile them up without a ...
15
votes
5answers
5k views

Can you recycle single serve coffee pods like K-Cups?

Are they recyclable at all? can you pull them apart and recycle parts of them? Are there recyclable alternatives? Many offices including mine are using these to brew coffee in the USA. I personally ...
14
votes
1answer
156 views

Are Tetra Pak tomatoes more sustainable than tinned?

Lots of UK supermarkets have recently started selling chopped tomatoes in Tetra Paks, rather than the tins they were always in. My first thought was that this was environmentally bad - given recycling ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

What does “reduce reuse recycle” actually mean?

What does the slogan/sticker "reduce reuse recycle" mean? Some people seem to use it as a list of options, others as a hierarchy. But the symbol is of a cycle, so is the order really important?
12
votes
2answers
183 views

What's the most sustainable way of disposing with a used battery?

We are advised by our various governments that the most environmentally-friendly way to dispose of a battery is to give it in to a designated battery recycling plant. But could the process of doing ...
11
votes
1answer
8k views

How to recycle paper with ink on it?

In my work and study, I have a lot of printouts - many of which re drafts and redrafts. Is there are a way to recycle printed paper (standard printer paper) without using harsh chemicals and minimal ...
9
votes
1answer
339 views

Composting used white shredded paper

I happen to have a lot of white used paper (with black ink on it, either from a printer or a pen), and also a very wet compost bin (I guess it's because my soil is heavy clay and the drainage is quite ...
6
votes
3answers
585 views

How difficult would it be to make things out of glass at home, using a solar reflector?

With a solar reflector/concentrator that was a square metre or two in size, I would expect it would be possible to get temperatures high enough to melt glass, even if only for a small sized object. ...
4
votes
1answer
59 views

Is there an efficient way to dispose of credit cards?

I have about 10 credit cards which I ended up not using for various reasons and I feel bad for having to throw them away in the trash, this is the case for many other things, but seems quite ...