Although many products are recyclable, some have a higher number of times it can be recycled than others. Here’s a guide to the most commonly recycled commodities and how many times they can be recycled.
According to Alcoa, the world's third largest producer of aluminum, the aluminum can is infinitely recyclable. That means it can be used, recycled, and turned back into a new can endlessly. In fact, it can be recycled and back on the store shelf as a new beverage can in less than 60 days.
The grade of paper is determined by fiber length, which shortens after each trip through the recycling process. After being recycled five to seven times, the fibers become too short to make new paper and will need to be mixed with new, un-recycled fibers.
Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled infinitely without losing any of its quality and purity.
“Steel has been produced in various forms for 3,500 years. Modern steel is manufactured from iron ore with ingredient such as coke, limestone, manganese, aluminum and nickel added, depending upon the alloy required.
Steel is 100% recyclable and can be recycled an infinite amount of times, saving energy and raw materials each time it is re-processed. Most steel has around 20% recycled content.”
“Most plastics can only be recycled once or twice before they are downcycled, which means they are recycled into something of a lesser value. Plastic is often downcycled to create clothing, fleece, or even lumber.
It is much more energy efficient to downcycle plastic and create these items than it is to use all new materials to create them. However, the items that are created usually cannot be recycled.”