Recycling refers to both physical and social processes that have the capacity to remake or modify materials, most often at the point of disposal. This article will therefore examine definitions of the physical recycling process before exploring the various cultural, political, economic, and social issues that make recycling such a major part of everyday life for citizens around the world.

In simple terms, recycling is the reuse of materials through some form of natural, mechanized, or industrial process. Accordingly, recycling differs from reuse, which refers to the use of materials for the same purpose without any physical modification to that product. A useful example of this distinction is the reuse and recycling of glass; the reuse of glass bottles or jars involves the refilling or repacking ...

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