The Three Steps to Recycling

Recycling is the key to ensuring that the future of our environment is healthy and that the Earth remains sustainable. Everyone knows that recycling is a positive thing and that the separation of paper and plastics from other trash leads to recycled materials being reused and the reduction of trash, as well as better waste management. However, people may not be aware of the three steps to recycling, which go beyond the first step of separating one's papers and plastics.

The first step to recycling, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, is called "Collection and Processing." This is where recycled trash gets taken to the right location, instead of ending up in a landfill. This first step to better waste management is directly applicable to households and individuals, who can help in the collection process. According to the EPA, more recyclables are collected in one of four ways: through drop-off centers, buy-back programs, refund programs and curbside recycling using a designated recycling bin.

The second step to recycling is labeled under "Manufacturing." The average consumer has very little to do with this step, unless one works in a recyclables manufacturing plant. However, it is very worthwhile for consumers to know what happens after they have diligently put their plastics into the proper bin and deposited it at the curb. The recycled materials are taken to a manufacturing facility and turned back into aluminum cans, recycled paper as well as countless other reissued products.

Finally, there is the last step of "Purchasing Recycled Products," which is definitely something that consumers can participate in. The EPA recommends shoppers to practice something called "buying recycled" - which helps to round out the circular process of recycling, thus ensuring a cleaner, healthier, more sustainable environment overall.