View All Posts

Nov 10

How many times can that be recycled?

Posted on November 10, 2022 at 9:09 AM by Kaitlynn McCumiskey

ARD toolkit 2022 FB 3All recycling is not created equal. Did you know that some materials can be recycled over and over, and others can only be recycled a limited number of times? We’ve ranked materials from highest recyclability to lowest.

  • Metal- Unlimited
    • Metal includes food and beverage cans and scrap metal items. You can confidently place your empty soda cans and soup cans in your recycling bin and know that they are a material that has a high value due to its ability to easily be turned into new products. Scrap metal items (everything that isn’t a food or beverage can) can be turned into new products but should not be placed in your recycling bin. Check with your local transfer station for disposal of these materials.
  • Glass- Unlimited
    • Glass, like metal, can readily be recycled into new products. Glass does not lose any value during the recycling process. Just make sure you only include container glass in your recycling bin. Drinking glasses, window glass, and ceramics are made from different materials and should not be included.
  • Paper- 5 to 7 Times
    • Paper is made up of fibers. Every time paper is recycled these fibers get broken down into smaller pieces, limiting what the recycled paper can be used for. This is often also why you will see some recycled content and some virgin content mixed to make a new material. Copier paper and cardboard boxes require longer fibers. Other materials, like egg cartons, tissues, and toilet paper can use paper fibers that are too short for other applications.
  • Plastic- Once or Twice
    • Every time plastic is recycled the quality decreases. This prevents your plastic water bottle from being turned into a new plastic water bottle over and over again. Plastic materials are often turned into fleece, plastic lumber, or carpeting, which after it has reached its useful life must be disposed of in a landfill.


Want to find out more about how materials are recycled and what they can be turned into? Check out this neat resource: Recycling Journey