Teresa Cortes, Marketing Manager of Sociedade Ponto Verde (SPV) with extended experience of working in the Sustainability and Environmental services industry.
SPV is the nonprofit organization that manages the integrated system of collection and treatment of packaging waste in Portugal.
The term recycling is often used incorrectly because it is confused with the concepts reuse and/or reutilize.
What are the differences between the 3?
Recycling presupposes a transformation of materials (mechanical/industrial). The initial object is transformed and converted into a new raw material that can be used in a completely different application. Exp: a water bottle that is transformed into fiber to be used as a car upholstery filling.
Reuse is to give a new use to something that already exists – reuse a bottle, reuse a piece of clothing, reuse a Tupperware, without necessarily having any kind of alteration to the existing object, in the limit, there may be a repair.
Reutilize, considering regulatory aspects linked to reuse systems, presupposes that a given item is returned, treated, and put back into use. As an example, the returnable tare system: a bottle is filled, used, returned, cleaned and disinfected, and filled again.