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How many times can it be recycled?

The recycling is part of the process of the life cycle of products, waste and then converted back into raw material for new products . Thus, over and over again, allowing you to make the most of natural resources. However, there comes a time when it is no longer possible to recycle. How many times can you actually recycle paper, glass, plastic, or metals?

You may also be interested in: Why is it important to recycle


The same paper could not be recycled over and over again indefinitely. It has a very logical explanation, to transform this used material into a new one, it must be subjected to a pulping process, then carry out different washing operations and pass it through a series of filters. All this causes the cellulose fiber of which it is made to fray and shorten, reducing its consistency and length. Finally, the fiber will be so damaged by successive recycling that it will remain in the filters of the treatment plant . The circle is broken, it can no longer be recycled. However, to avoid this, it is essential to add virgin fiber extracted from trees to the process to renew the raw material.

On the other hand, a glass bottle can be recycled indefinitely to produce other bottles. It is a material that can be 100% recycled and does not lose any of its qualities. However there is the limitation of the color of the material itself. If we assume the bottle is green, it will not be used to make another transparent one.

The recycling of plastics has certain limitations. For a plastic (polyethylene terephthalate (PET), low- or high-density polyethylene, polystyrene) that is thrown into the yellow container to become useful again, it must first be crushed, washed and melted into small plastic grains. This is a thermal process that degrades the material. Therefore, it can only be recycled a maximum of five times, even less.


In the case of PET bottles , they can be made into a fleece lining or a carpet. You will be given a new life to the plastic , but it will only last stage to the landfill, because there is no way to return again to the beginning of the cycle.

Finally, we have metals, which like glass can be recycled over and over again without end. This is what happens with lead in car batteries, which Spanish manufacturers can reuse indefinitely to produce new batteries without having to resort to mining operations . The fate of some of the recycled metals will depend on their quality, or what is the same, on their purity. The problem is that consumers mix them all and it costs more to separate them. In any case, its high demand, especially for metals such as aluminum or copper, means that there is a lot of interest in recycled material.

If you want to read more articles similar to How many times can it be recycled? , we recommend that you enter our Recycling and waste management category .

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