What is the difference between reuse and recycle?

What is the difference between reuse and recycling

While the terms reuse and recycle are often used interchangeably, it is essential to understand the distinction between them. Recycling involves dismantling a product into its constituent materials and then using those materials to create new products. On the other hand, reuse involves using an existing asset for a new purpose. Many people wonder What are the differences between reuse and recycling.

Therefore, in this article we are going to tell you what the differences are between reusing and recycling.

Differences between reuse and recycle


The current discussion between skeptics and advocates revolves around the question of whether recycling, which gained popularity in the 1980s, actually benefits the environment. The advantages of recycling at a basic level are evident: reduces the volume of waste that is incinerated or landfilled, while preserving the Earth's finite resources, which are obtained through extraction methods harmful to the environment. However, it is crucial to recognize that recycling is not without environmental consequences.

While reusing existing cables offers a 100% environmentally friendly solution, transporting recyclable products in trucks introduces the need for energy and the generation of pollution. Additionally, the recycling process itself requires additional energy and results in the generation of contaminants as the product is transformed back into raw material.

It is essential to consider the types of products that can be made from recycled materials. Closed-loop recycling, such as when a plastic bottle is transformed into another plastic bottle, is very efficient and allows an indefinite continuation of the process. However, the closed loop is often disrupted when items are recycled into less desirable products that can no longer be recycled. For example, a plastic bottle is reused to make plastic fibers for clothing.

The effectiveness of recycling measures

reuse things

While a reuse strategy is always environmentally friendly, the same cannot be said for recycling. Recycling effectiveness varies greatly by location, as regulations, programs and facilities differ from country to country, state to state, and municipality to municipality. The disparity between recycling rates can be quite significant. Eurostat data from 2016 reveals that Sweden recycled almost 50% of its waste, while Romania only managed to recycle approximately 13%.

Additionally, the type of material being recycled is a crucial factor to consider. Aluminum, for example, is very efficient and requires approximately 90% less energy when produced from recycled materials. On the other hand, recycled glass only offers about a 20% reduction in energy consumption.

EPRA, a non-profit organization, offers regulated recycling programs for unwanted electronics. Its objective is to recycle cables and wires by extracting valuable metals and considering non-metallic components as waste.

Recycling does not cover all forms of waste

Not all waste is recycled, as mentioned above. When organizations transition to IP technology, they often find it necessary to upgrade their cabling infrastructure to support their endpoints. For example, let's imagine a company that intends to replace its current telephone infrastructure. This company operates in a 40.000 square foot facility and employs 200 people. In this scenario, approximately 22,000 feet of wiring could end up in a landfill.

On the other hand, larger facilities, such as cruise ships, can have up to 750.000 feet of telephone cable, generating more than 11 tons of waste. It is important to note that many IoT endpoints do not require high bandwidth, making upgrading to new Ethernet cabling wasteful and environmentally burdensome.

According to EPRA's 2017 Environmental Report, the organization highlights that the most important potential for recovering the value of used devices lies in the act of reusing and repurposing them. Unfortunately, many businesses tend to discard their established, trusted infrastructure in favor of embracing the Internet of Things.

What is reuse and its advantages


The act of reusing involves the use of an object or material for a purpose that may be the same as its original intention or different. This process may also involve transforming, upgrading, or repairing the item, thereby prolonging its usefulness and conserving valuable resources. Imagination and creativity play crucial roles in this practice, often incorporating various crafting techniques. As an example, after consuming your cocoa cream, You can reuse the empty jar as a pencil holder, candle holder or even as a new container for food.

There are numerous benefits associated with the practice of reuse. By considering possible alternative uses for any product before discarding it, you can contribute to environmental conservation, resource preservation and energy preservation.

By reducing waste production, you effectively extend the life of landfills while avoiding the need for new ones. Besides, It serves as a preventive measure against pollution and ecological damage that would otherwise result from the extraction of fresh resources.

By refraining from using fuel, water and materials during the creation of a new product, you actively contribute to the growth of the national economy. This approach effectively minimizes the need to purchase additional products, thereby reducing expenses. This particular activity does not contribute to the release of greenhouse gas emissions.

What is recycling and its advantages

The recycling process involves transforming used materials into new products, allowing them to be used again. This includes various substances such as glass, paper, plastic, aluminum, and more.

By reducing waste generation, The useful life of landfills is prolonged and the need to establish new landfills is avoided. Additionally, it serves as a safeguard against pollution and damage inflicted on ecosystems arising from the extraction of fresh resources.

Recycling not only saves energy but also proves to be a more profitable alternative to producing new materials. Additionally, it plays a vital role in supporting the local economy, as certain recycling centers even offer monetary incentives to people who bring in recyclable materials.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the differences between reuse and recycling.

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