Recycling Around the World
November 15 is America Recycles Day, an annual event launched in 1997 by the National Recycling Coalition. The need to reuse and recycle raw materials has never been as urgent as it is today. The human race has reached a worldwide population of 7 billion, and America is responsible for consuming a disproportionate share of the planet's resources. In many parts of the world, recycling is done by necessity. In others, artists, governments, and businesses have found creative and useful ways to reuse materials -- a plastic bottle may find itself reborn as artwork, a warm blanket, or fuel oil. Collected here are photographs of various recycling efforts around the world, ranging from small and whimsical to industrial in scale.
A laborer rests on piles of plastic bottles at a recycling center in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China, on November 6, 2011.
Haylie Alsip, 4, of Grand Haven, Michigan, plays among hundreds of flowers made from recycled plastic water bottles by Libby Hodges of Florida on Wednesday, September 21, 2011. The ArtPrize entry, titled Thousand Suns, is on display outside the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
(AP Photo/The Grand Rapids Press, Rex Larsen)
A worker checks the finish on a motorcycle made from recycled materials from spare car and bicycle parts, at a workshop owned by Roongrojna Sangwongprisarn in Bangkok, on July 27, 2011. With four shops in Bangkok named "Ko Art Shop," Roongrojna also exports his artworks to clients all over the world.
Compost is screened and sorted into different quality and sizes at the Woodhorn Group depot, where Christmas trees and other green waste is chipped and turned into compost at Tangmere near Chichester in southern England, on January 5, 2011.
A door made from recycled oil drums marks the entrance to a mud compound at the village of Kunkak in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, February 23, 2011. Village doors in Helmand are made from a variety of scavenged material -- oil drums, shipping containers, bits of cloth, rice sacks or tins -- and are often the only splash of individuality and colour in a drab, beige landscape where one compound looks almost identical to the next.
Electronic components at a recycling facility of Re-Tem Corp in Tokyo, on October 15, 2010. Re-Tem Corp researches and develops the recycling of rare earth metals vital to the production of electronics.
A man burns computer scrap in order to retrieve metal from it that will be used to make soldering wire in a makeshift workshop in Karachi, Pakistan, on April 20, 2011.
A couple visits a "bubble room" on July 26, 2011, in a park in Roubaix, France. The bubble room is made with recycled plastic and is kept under pressure by a silent blower.
(Philippe Huguen/AFP/Getty Images)
Vuvuzelas made up as a bank of lights, displayed during a competition to re-use the musical instruments after the South African World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa, on Tuesday, November 9, 2010. Two South African advertising firms sponsored the WoZela! vuvuzela recycling competition under the slogan "Make a difference, not just a noise."
(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
A model presents a creation with recycled materials during Ecofashion 2011, on March 26, 2011, in Cali, Colombia.
(Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the Boy Scouts walks among recycled aluminum cans that fellows Boy Scouts had earlier used to form a gigantic fleur-de-lis, at the Zocalo Plaza in Mexico City, on October 9, 2011. Scouts descend on the main plaza for the annual event to form their group's emblem. According to organizers the cans used to make the giant emblem are sold and the money used to help the needy.
(AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)
Argentinian fashion designer Lucrecia Lovera poses with a reel of videotape and a bag made from recycled VHS videotape, for her label "retape" in her studio in Berlin, on January 27, 2011.
Scrap metal tubing, compressed and processed for recycling at Ed Arnold Scrap Processors in Corfu, New York, on July 7, 2011.
(AP Photo/David Duprey)
Handguns are tossed into a furnace at the ArcelorMittal Steel mill in Cleveland Thursday, October 20, 2011. The city of Cleveland and the steel maker recycled more than 700 guns, including those surrendered at a gun buy-back last month.
(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
A man digs into a heap of garbage to recover copper and other metals from discarded electronic waste, to be exchanged for money at nearby junk shops, in the Smokey Mountain rubbish dump in Manila, Philippines, on April 7, 2011.
A "tiger" made from recycled materials leads the Chinese New Year twilight parade in Sydney, on February 21, 2010.
An Afghan girl scavenges for recyclable items on the outskirts of Kabul, on October 4, 2011.
(Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli industrial designer Hadas Itzcovitch walks next to a model of a world globe she created using recycled bottles ahead of Earth Day in the city of Petah Tikvah near Tel Aviv, on March 24, 2011.
(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A worker holds one of many scrap mobile phones at a recycling facility of Re-Tem Corp, in Tokyo October 15, 2010.
Israeli Army decommissioned tanks are seen in a scrapyard in the "tank cemetery," located inside an Army base near the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Gat, on May 5, 2011. Some 700 decommissioned Israeli tanks used by the Jewish state during different wars were for sale for about 0.25 USD/kilo, to be used for metal recycling.
(Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)
Ohio State University optometry student Patrick Milleson poses in a sea of old and used glasses at the optometry college, in Columbus, Ohio, on May 27, 2010. Eyeglasses that are collected from donation bins in stores are shipped to the OSU optometry school and the students sort, clean and donate them to those in need.
(AP Photo/The Columbus Dispatch, Neal C. Lauron)
Filipino Rodolfo Rivera, 65, runs to hit a recycled tennis ball using a homemade wooden racket strapped to his hands during a game of handball in Manila, Philippines, on Sunday, January 23, 2011.
(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
A television reporter films inside the EcoArk building made with plastic bottles during a media preview in Taipei, on April 9, 2010. A Taiwan company built the three-story exhibition hall using 1.5 million plastic bottles instead of bricks to raise interest in recycling, creating what the builder described as a world first.
A Christmas tree made entirely of recycled bicycles is unveiled at the Rocks on November 19, 2010, in Sydney, Australia. The bikes and parts for the tree were provided by recycling group, CMA Corporation, and remained on display until December 28 when it was returned to the corporation for recycling.
(Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Crushed aluminum cans at a recycling plant near Laval, France, on October 20, 2011.
A violinist with the Paraguayan symphonic orchestra takes part in "Trash Melodies," a program in which musicians play instruments made out of recycled materials, in Asuncion, Paraguay, on July 28, 2011. The instrument maker, Paraguayan luthier Nicolas Orue, was inspired by the "Sounds of the Earth," a classical music education project led by Paraguayan musician Luis Szaran.
(Norberto Duarte/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Invincible sits at Aliaga scrapyard in the Aegean port city of Izmir, on June 16, 2011. HMS Invincible is in the scrapyard to be broken down by a Turkish ship recycling company.
Workers rest on a roof in front of a ten-meter-high Transformer-style statue outside the Olympic Stadium in Beijing, on July 12, 2010. The model, made of scrap car parts and other metals, was shipped from Taiwan and was displayed during "The Green Dream Park", a theme park promoting environmental protection and sustainable lifestyle.
In this image made on Sept. 7, 2010, a volunteer sews blankets made from recycled plastic bottles at The Tzu Chi Foundation factory in Taipei, Taiwan. The Tzu Chi Foundation, known for performing good works to those in need, dispatched thousands of the eco-blankets to survivors of this year's massive earthquake in Haiti and soon will be shipping more to flood survivors in Pakistan.
(AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Cavalo, 36, pulls his one-year-old son Joaquim Francisco in his baby stroller made of recycled wood in the financial center of Sao Paulo, on October, 26 2011.
People walk past a giant figure made to look like an Easter Bunny with white teeth, made from soda crates in Cape Town, South Africa, on April 15, 2011. Around 42,000 crates were used to create the figure with an inner skeleton made from scaffolding and cable ties, with the figure being recycled after use.
(AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)
Ecotech Recycling Social Enterprise Managing Director Ming Cheung poses with fuel oil converted from plastic waste in front of his "Plastic Waste-to-Fuel System" at a plant in Hong Kong's rural New Territories August 24, 2011. The system is designed to provide a practical and cost effective solution to plastic waste management with energy regeneration. This prototype machine can process three tons of plastic waste into 1,000 liters of fuel oil per day. With further refinement, the fuel oil is suitable for diesel engine usage, said Cheung.
The 60-foot-long Plastiki catamaran, built from more than 11,000 reclaimed bottles and other recycled plastic and waste products, is towed into Sydney Harbour at the end of its Trans-Pacific crossing on July 26, 2010.