How Often Can You Recycle Different Items?

How Often Can You Recycle Different Items?

Recycling is a violent practice, but it needs to be in order to reshape and reform recyclables into raw materials ready for manufacturing or repurposing. This is why some materials can be recycled over and over again without fail, and why others only make it through the recycling process once before meeting the end of its recyclable life. This explains why metal recycling facilities are more prominent than paper and plastic recycling centers. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s start with a look at how many times different materials can be recycled.


As long it’s properly sorted, certain types and forms of glass is endlessly recyclable. Certain glassware and light bulbs, for example, are not recyclable at all. During glass recycling, it’s important that glass is sorted by color (clear, brown, and green) to ensure the end result is usable in glass manufacturing.


The process of recycling paper involves shredding, pounding, soaking, and heating. Paper fibers get shorter each time they go through that process, until they are eventually too short for even the lowest grade paper. That’s why paper can only be recycled between five and seven times at most.


Most types of plastic degrade during the recycling process, which is why most plastics can only be successfully recycled one time. However, most plastics can be “downcycled” into non-recyclable goods like plastic lumber and fleece clothing.


Metal is the poster child of sustainability. Steel, aluminum, copper, and other metals are endlessly recyclable, regardless of where they came from. The properties of metal hold steady no matter how many times they are melted down, which is why some believe that a large percentage of all the copper ever minded in history is probably still used in some capacity today.

Metal recycling is big business, and not just for the facilities that process scrap metal either. Tucson Iron & Metal pays top-dollar for scrap metal, and even offers pick-up service to get cash in your hand as quickly and easily as possible. Call us at (520) 884-1554 to learn more about our metal recycling services in scrap metal pricing in Tucson.