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Permaculture Techniques - Recycling


Recycling means using materials more than once, often altering their form by some process to render them useful in ways than their original intended use. Recycling involves imaginative thinking. All organic substances can be recycled ultimately into compost, and many inorganic items can be used creatively in a permaculture system.


  • Reduction in cost
  • Reduction in production of new materials, thus reducing consumption and manufacture of new materials
  • Return of nutrients to nature via composting, natural decay
  • Promotes awareness, responsibility, tolerance and creative expression
  • Reduction of waste; waste management on site instead of contributing to land fill rubbish tips, air pollution by incineration, ground water and tip site pollution.
  • Energy used to recycle is usually less than that required to manufacture from raw materials.


  1. Stop buying new stuff, start scavenging.
  2. Start composting.
  3. Organise a depot on-site for recycle material storage. Keep it near to the back door for household items, further away for larger items, but near to eventual destinations and tool shed!
  4. If it can be burned it can be recycled - consider all uses first.
  5. Paper products can be turned back into paper, used as mulch, composted (beware of toxic inks and dyes)
  6. Cardboard can be used as mulch or composted (watch out for increasing boron levels, remove plastic tapes, etc)
  7. Kitchen scraps can be fed to animals or composted
  8. Metal can often be recycled on site with a little ingenuity (old beds for fences, food cans for plant pots or ant traps under seedling bench legs, etc) or can be taken to a recycle depot (sometimes for cash returns)
  9. Water can be used several times; eg. rainwater used in house recycled in grey water system for irrigation (care should be taken with choice of soaps, detergents and other chemicals).
  10. Other items can be recycled into craft or art objects as a hobby income.
  11. Glass recycling depots are available, or use imaginatively in building or craft projects, or for personal food processing.
  12. Plastic can be taken to recycle depots after several uses (try to avoid purchasing at all in the first place though!)




photos of the ever changing view of the coast from our living room window
Our ever-changing view!
Moonset ~ Roll Cloud ~ Sunset

permaculture ethics
care for earth,
care for people,
return surplus,
reduce consumption

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Copyright © Beverley Paine 2002-14. Article from this website may be downloaded, reproduced, and distributed without permission as long as each copy includes this entire notice along with citation information (i.e., name of the periodical in which it originally appeared, date of publication, and author's name). Permission must be obtained from the author in order to reprint this article in a published work or to offer it for sale in any form. Please visit Bungala Ridge Permaculture Gardens for more original content by Beverley Paine.