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.
Above: A laborer rests on piles of plastic bottles at a recycling center in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China, on November 6, 2011. (Reuters/Stringer)