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What is the difference between recycling and reusing?
Question Date: 2009-09-11
Answer 1:

I heard on a Wonder Pets cartoon show that recycling means re-using something for a new purpose. That's not quite accurate, but it communicates the importance of re-using. An 'Art from Scrap'* person sent me these pieces of info:

Reuse, The Heart of Waste PreventionThis is from the CIWMB website [CA Integrated Waste Management Board] full of information:


ReuseUsing an object or material again, either for its original purpose or for a similar purpose, without significantly altering the physical form of the object or material. Reuse is not recycling, because recycling alters the physical form of an object or material. Reuse is generally preferred to recycling because reuse generally consumes less energy and resources than recycling. Waste is defined as material for which no use or reuse is intended. Thus, reuse prevents objects and materials from becoming waste. Therefore, reuse is considered to be a form of waste prevention.

Places such as 'Art from Scrap' collect unwanted materials, and we Reuse them to make artistic creations. I think we tend to put Recycling on a pedestal, but it takes so much energy to turn old paper, glass and plastic into new paper, glass and plastic. I'm glad to see that the CA Waste Management Board says the Heart of waste management is Reuse. I'd like to see that message spread.

Best wishes,

Answer 2:

Economically, recycling normally means breaking something down and turning it into something else, whereas reusing just means using something over again.

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