Meaning of “recycle” in the English Dictionary

"recycle" in British English

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recycleverb [ T ]

uk /ˌriːˈsaɪ.kəl/ us /ˌriːˈsaɪ.kəl/

B1 to sort and collect rubbish in order to treat it and produce useful materials that can be used again:

The Japanese recycle more than half their waste paper.
Shall I just throw this bottle away, or do you recycle?

to use something again for a different purpose:

Why not recycle Christmas cards as gift tags?
Students can sometimes recycle old essays to make them fit new questions.

More examples

  • Metal, paper and glass can be recycled.
  • Old newspapers are pulped and recycled.
  • As a nation we recycle a mere 20 percent of our waste.
  • Can you recycle cardboard?
  • She recycles as much as she can.

(Definition of “recycle” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"recycle" in American English

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recycleverb [ I/T ]

us /riˈsɑɪ·kəl/

to collect and treat used objects and materials that are ready to be thrown out in order to produce materials that can be used again:

[ T ] The law requires us to recycle paper products, glass bottles, soda cans, and some kinds of plastic.

(Definition of “recycle” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"recycle" in Business English

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recycleverb [ I or T ]

uk /ˌriːˈsaɪkl/ us

ENVIRONMENT to use a special industrial process in order to make materials and products ready to be used again:

Remember to reduce, reuse, or recycle.
be recycled Equipment that is too old to repair is recycled.
recycle goods/material/waste Waste is separated into four different bins in order to recycle it.
recycle sth into sth Plastic bottles can be recycled into a myriad other products.

to use money for a different purpose from the one it was originally intended for:

recycle sth into sth The original capital of $500,000 has been recycled into loans totaling $22 million.

(Definition of “recycle” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)