For Kids! Why Recycling Matters

A guide to recycling and why we do it, made just for you!

Recycling is important for the environment. It helps reduce the amount of energy we use, improves the quality of air and water, and helps fight climate change.

All sorts of things can be recycled: plastics, cardboard, aluminum cans, and more. Keep reading for more information!

So, what is recycling?

Recycling is a process that lets materials be used more than once. It takes trash and turns it into something new!

What can I recycle?

A lot of different types of materials can be recycled. Some of the most common recyclable materials are:



Like water bottles, grocery bags, and to-go cups.



Such as spaghetti sauce and other food jars.



Things like soda cans or pet food cans.



Have old school work? It can be recycled!



Dead laptops, radios, etc.


& More!

It’s amazing what you can recycle!

How does recycling work?

The recycling process is different for each type of material being recycled.

Some of these processes can get pretty complicated, too. For every type of material, though, the process starts with you. When you put something in the recycling bin or take it to a recycling center, you start the cycle of turning an old item into something new!

Once you hand your recycling over to the recycling center, they take over the process. Here’s how some of the most common recyclable materials are recycled once inside the recycling facility.


To start the paper recycling process, the paper is first mixed with water and some chemicals to break it down.

The broken-down paper is then shredded and heated up. This process turns the paper into pulp or slurry. The pulp gets strained from the liquid, which also removes any glues or plastics that were mixed in with the paper.

After straining, the pulp gets cleaned up and bleached to remove any leftover dyes or inks. Now the pulp is ready to be turned into new paper once again.

Aluminum cans

One of the first items to be recycled was the aluminum can!

To recycle an aluminum can, it’s first shredded into strips of metal. Then, it gets heated up to melt the metal together.

The aluminum metal can now be used to make new cans or other aluminum items.

Plastic Bottles

There are a lot of different types of plastics. Each type is made from a different combination of chemicals. That’s why it’s important for plastic bottles to first be sorted by type before they can be recycled.

After being sorted, the plastic bottles are cleaned so that there’s no food or other waste left on them. Next, the bottles are shredded or crushed into tiny plastic pieces.

The plastic pieces are then melted down so the plastic can be formed into new plastic items.

Computers & Batteries

Computers and batteries are unique in how they’re recycled. They are most often broken down to remove harmful chemicals and keep those chemicals from getting into the environment.

Computers are also taken apart so that the metals and valuable materials inside these items can be recovered and recycled separately.

The Recycling Loop

The recycling loop has three arrows.

Each of these arrows represents a different step in the recycling process. The three steps are:

Collect recyclable materials (such as aluminum cans, plastic bottles, newspapers).

Process the old materials and turn them into new items.

Buy items made from these recycled materials.

You can be involved in the first and last steps! The recycling facility takes care of the second step when you drop off your items for recycling.

Why should I recycle?

There are so many benefits that come from recycling. Some of the most important benefits are:

Less trash in landfills

When we recycle items, we save them from taking up space in dumps and landfills. Keeping trash out of landfills helps keep the environment clean.

Reducing pollution

Recycling items produces less pollution than when items are created from brand new materials. Pollution hurts the environment, so it’s best to produce the least amount possible.

Using fewer resources

When we reuse materials instead of tossing them into landfills, we won’t have to remove as many natural resources from the earth. We can instead preserve what already exists!

What can I do?

To help the environment and keep your community clean, make sure you recycle everything you can at home and at school. Encourage your family members to keep a recycling bin at home so that you can all place recyclable items in it (aluminum cans, plastic bottles, cereal boxes, newspapers, etc.).

Then, you can ask to go with your parent or guardian when they take the trash and recycling so that you can help throw the recycling in the right bin.


Where do I go in Campbell County to recycle?

Campbell County has 6 convenience centers where you can drop off your recyclables.

Those centers are Towe String – Main Office, College Hills, Oswego, Vasper, Well Springs,  and White Oak.

What all can I recycle?

Lots of things can be recycled. Some items include paper, plastic, glass, metal, textiles, batteries, electronics, and more!

What do each of the green arrows in the recycling symbol mean?

The three arrows represent the three steps of the recycle to new process. These steps include collecting, processing, manufacturing, and purchasing goods made from recycled materials.

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