General Recycling
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Recycling Process
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A number of different systems have been implemented to collect recyclates from the general waste stream. These systems tend to lie along the spectrum of trade-off between public convenience and government ease and expense. The three main categories of collection are "drop-off centres", "buy-back centres" and "curbside collection".

Drop-off centres require the waste producer carry the recyclates to a central location, either an installed or mobile collection station or the reprocessing plant itself. They are the easiest type of collection to establish, but suffer from low and unpredictable throughput. Buy-back centres differ in that the cleaned recyclates are purchased, thus providing a clear incentive for use and creating a stable supply. The post-processed material can then be sold on, hopefully creating a profit. Unfortunately government subsidies are necessary to make buy-back centres a viable enterprise, as according to the United States Nation Solid Wastes Management Association it costs on average US$50 to process a ton of material, which can only be resold for US$30.

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Recycling
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Recycling involves processing used materials into new products in order to prevent the waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air (from incineration) and water (from landfilling) pollution by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions as compared to virgin production. Recycling is a key component of modern waste management and is the third component of the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" waste hierarchy.

Recyclable materials include glass, paper, metal, textiles, electronics (cell phones, computers) and plastics. Though similar, the composting of biodegradable waste – such as food or garden waste – is not typically considered recycling. These materials are either brought to a collection centre or picked-up from the curbside; and sorted, cleaned and reprocessed into new products bound for manufacturing.

However, critics of recycling claim that it often wastes more resources than it saves, especially in cases where it is mandated by government.

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