Recycling has come a long way since the “newsprint, bottles, and cans” era. Today all kinds of objects have the potential for reuse, from cotton dresses to cigarette butts.
At the same time, our wired world is changing how we collect and sort recyclables and what products those materials are recycled into.
Whether we're recycling commonplace materials like aluminum and cotton or rare metals and complicated synthetics, without the process, more of the energy, water, and other resources used to make them is wasted. With more of us throwing things away every day and the cost of many natural resources climbing, many of our discards can be a gold mine for industry.
Following are creative new approaches to getting the most from our natural resources.