Recycling is the creation of new products from used materials. Recycling is not the same as reuse, where the object is reused for its original purpose.
Recycling is helpful in preventing waste of potentially useful material, decreasing consumption of fine unprocessed materials, as well as reducing intended air pollution from incineration and energy usage as well as water pollution from land filling. It also reduces the need for “the usual” waste disposal, and helps lower the emission of GHG compared to virgin production. Recyclable materials include paper, textiles, metal, plastic, electronics and various kinds of glass.
Basically, recycling material will produce new supply of the same material. However, as this is often complicated or more expensive than producing the same product from raw materials or other resources, new materials are often produced instead. Another way to recycle is by salvaging certain materials from larger products, either due to their natural value (e.g. gold from computer components), or due to their harmful nature (e.g. the removal and reuse of mercury from various items).
The term “downcycling” is frequently used when the materials used for recycling is used for creating inferior products.