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Recycling involves collecting, sorting and processing waste material and remanufacturing them into new products. Today, much of the aluminum, glass, paper and steel used in packaging is already recycled. Half the nation's aluminum cans are made from recycled aluminum, with one-quarter of the raw fibers used in the paper industry made from recycled paper products. Glass and steel containers can be recycled again and again.
The recycling of aluminum and steel cans, cardboard, glass, newspapers and certain plastics is a growing industry. Glass containers, office paper, laundry detergent bottles, steel cans, paper packaging, cardboard boxes and aluminum cans are easily recyclable materials that get thrown away every day. Recyclables kept separate from your household waste can be collected at recycling programs. Collected materials are further sorted and processed for sale to manufacturers.
Money earned from the sale of recyclable materials can benefit the individual recycler or help communities and companies offset operating costs. Recycling even allows some communities to reduce waste disposal costs.
Society's energy consumption is also reduced by recycling. For example, it requires less energy to make a new glass bottle from a recycled one because recycled glass melts at a lower temperature than the raw materials. Recycling also prolongs the life of the equipment used to create glass products. Similarly, making aluminum cans from recycled aluminum uses a fraction of the energy needed to make them from bauxite ore.