Does using recycled materials in products use less energy than virgin materials?



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    In general, yes, using recycled products in materials uses less energy than virgin materials. Products that are especially energy intensive to mine and manufacture (such as steel, glass, copper, aluminum and paper) have the most significant energy savings when recycled. However, the amount of energy required to recycle some products can be raised by the factors of transportation and separation (often with heat) because most products are not currently designed to reenter the product stream in their original form after use. Another benefit to recycling that must be considered, however, is the fact virgin materials represent finite sources. Every time we throw something away and replace it with a new product rather than a recycled product, we have less supply available and the resources embodied in the disposed of product are lost forever.

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