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Definition

recycling

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Recycling is the practice of reusing items that would otherwise be discarded as waste. Variations of recycling include upcycling, which involves adding value to an item for reuse, and downcycling, which involves breaking down an item or substance into its component elements to reuse anything that can be salvaged. Precycling, an alternative approach, involves avoiding the acquisition of unnecessary items that would have eventually have to be recycled or dealt with as waste.

E-cycling is the practice of reusing, or distributing for reuse, electronic equipment and components rather than discarding them at the end of their life cycle. Discarded electronics and electronic components (e-waste) are creating a serious problem because of toxic elements involved in their manufacture. Usually, discarded computers and other electronic devices, such as cell phones, are functional and could be passed on to another individual or organization. Often, even non-functioning devices can be refurbished and resold or donated.

 

This was last updated in December 2012

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