On The Money

How Many Times Can You Recycle Something?

Recycling BinsRecycling is a critical method of keeping solid waste to a minimum. One cannot help wonder, however, if there is a limit to recycling, or if you can do it indefinitely. Many materials are being recycled every minute, all over the world.

You may assume that you can do recycling indefinitely or people would cover the world in solid waste all over. There are several answers to this, however. Read on to know more.


Copper is among the most commonly recycled materials in the world. Like almost every other metal, you can recycle copper indefinitely. Metals have very rigid structures that do not degrade when undergoing recycling.

People recycle copper itself so much that the amount of refurbished copper roughly matches that of newly produced copper. According to data, two-thirds of the 550 million tons of copper produced as far back as 1900 is still in use today. Many firms such as LKM Recycling are into copper wire recycling.


While very easy to recycle, paper has the most limited lifespan in terms of recycling. Experts estimate that you can only recycle paper five to seven times. This is due to the fibres that comprise the material. With each recycling process, these fibres grow shorter.

The shorter they are, the less durable the material is.


Plastic is recyclable, but the frequency is very limited. Experts say that you can recycle plastic fully only once. After that, they have to undergo repurposing for some other use. Plastic’s recyclability is a one-and-done deal. This is why environmentalists campaign for the banning of plastic.


Glass bottles and containers can also be recycled infinitely. It is as simple as melting glass products, remoulding them, and repurposing them. There is no chance of the material degrading during the recycling process.

It all lies in the ability of glassmakers and recyclers to melt the glass properly and remould it into something new.

These answers only satisfy a portion of the question, “how many times can you recycle?” You will have to do the research yourself if you have a particular recyclable material in mind.