The recycling process is quite complicate. It all starts with the initial sorting the various materials (paper, tin, plastic, etc.) either in the home or at a recycling facility. After that, the materials must be further sorted by type (plastic numbers and paper grades, for example), and all those items that are not eligible for recycling (such as those contaminated with food, dyes or toxins) must be removed. Depending on the item being recycled, the processes vary, but at the minimum they involve transporting the item to a processing facility, breaking down the material, intensive cleaning and purifying (removing residues, dyes and inks, for example), and reintegrating into the market (in the case of glass and plastic, this involves mixing recycled material with virgin material before it can be shaped into a finished product). Still, while recycling might involve a few extra steps, it beats the much simpler alternative of just throwing away usable materials.
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