Recycling 101 – What is Recycling?

Everyone’s heard of it. We all (hopefully) do it. But what is recycling? What does the process involve? Why should we recycle?

In a world where recycling has become more important every day, we should know the answers to all these questions.

Below, we break down recycling into a handy 101 guide – answering the key questions you may have around the topic.

what is recycling

What is recycling?

Recycling can be defined as the process of breaking down and re-suing waste materials into new products.

The recycling process

There’s no better example to show the recycling process than using ourselves as a case study.

We recycle old pull up banners. The recycling process involves dismantling the banner stand, sorting the materials, shredding suitable materials and finally repurposing the material into new products.

The infographic below goes into a little more detail about each stage.

how we recycle banners

Find out more about how we recycle banners.

Why is recycling important?

The process of recycling reduces the need of using raw materials and power that would have otherwise been used to produce a product or material from scratch in the first place.

This leads on to the benefits of recycling…

Benefits of recycling

  • Less waste going to landfill
  • Recycling materials uses less energy compared to producing it from raw materials
  • Natural resources are conserved for a longer period of time
  • Saves money for individuals, organisations and governments
  • Creates jobs worldwide

Recyclable items

Everything that can be recycled, should be. While many items are not currently recycled, it’s worth knowing about the ones that can be.

Common recyclable items include:

  • Paper – printer paper, post-it notes, newspapers, cardboard
  • Plastic – bottles, containers, food wrappers and packets
  • Metal – tin cans, aluminium, foil
  • Glass – bottles, jars, containers

Each council and waste management supplier recycle differently. So it’s important to be aware of your local waste providers requirements.

Is it just about recycling?

No. Recycling is part of the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and should be your last port of call if reducing and reusing isn’t possible.


The best thing we can do is to reduce the amount we use in the first place.

For individuals, consider buying package free products or buy second hand – we’ve all heard of the saying: ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’

Food waste is a major issue – try only buying what you need. If you have bought too much, just store what you don’t use in the freezer for another time.

Businesses should be thinking of reducing their waste as a core value. Reducing waste equals cost savings to the business.

Think about the most common material that ends up in your bins. How can you change your processes to improve this? How can you change the culture of your business to ‘reduce’ their waste?

You could encourage team members to bring in packed lunches from home as an example. For a quick win, you can make sure everyone prints double-sided when using the printer.


Reusing is pretty easy in households. Glass jars and containers are easily re-used to store items or food products.

There are alternatives to single use products like straws – which may require an initial layout but in the long run it quickly pays back.

Washing machine balls are another great example, as they last for around 1000 washes!

Businesses can use plastic bag exchanges to remove the need to buy plastic bags for supermarkets and retail shops.

Don’t forget to provide staff with cutlery and plates in the kitchens to avoid using single use plates and paper towels.


Are you still stuck on the topic of recycling? Have a question? Let us know in the comments below.

For any queries on our recyclable banners range or our recycling scheme, please call us or use our live chat system during working hours.

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