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[ree-sahy-kuh l] /riˈsaɪ kəl/
verb (used with object), recycled, recycling.
to treat or process (used or waste materials) so as to make suitable for reuse:
recycling paper to save trees.
to alter or adapt for new use without changing the essential form or nature of:
The old factory is being recycled as a theater.
to use again in the original form or with minimal alteration:
The governor recycled some speeches from his early days.
to cause to pass through a cycle again:
to recycle laundry through a washing machine.
verb (used without object), recycled, recycling.
to pass through a cycle again; repeat a process from the beginning.
to undergo reuse or renewal; be subject to or suitable for further use, activity, etc.:
The industry will recycle and become profitable once more.
the act or process of recycling.
Origin of recycle
1925-30; re- + cycle
Related forms
recyclable, adjective
recyclability, noun
recycler, recyclist, noun
nonrecyclable, adjective
unrecycled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for recycle
  • It's also a chance to teach the lessons of reuse, recycle and remake.
  • Today they also remind us to reduce, reuse and recycle.
  • Restaurant workers regularly filter and reuse the oil in the deep fryer, and home cooks can recycle cooking oil, too.
  • Taxes, fines etc should be enforced to encourage everyone to reuse and recycle.
  • We should look to which way is actually going to encourage reduce, reuse, and recycle.
  • The need to reuse and recycle raw materials has never been as urgent as it is today.
  • We use cloth diapers, support local organic farmers, and do the reduce-reuse-recycle thing.
  • Power plants do recycle and reuse the heat by product until it no longer is feasible.
  • Don't forget that this holiday encourages everyone to recycle, reduce and reuse.
  • Consumers now have many options to recycle or donate for reuse their used electronics.
British Dictionary definitions for recycle


verb (transitive)
to pass (a substance) through a system again for further treatment or use
to reclaim (packaging or products with a limited useful life) for further use
to institute a different cycle of processes or events in (a machine, system, etc)
to repeat (a series of operations)
the repetition of a fixed sequence of events
Derived Forms
recyclable, recycleable, adjective, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for recycle

1922, originally of industrial processes; see re- + cycle (v.). Specifically of waste material from 1960. Related: Recycled; recycling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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