While recycling is now commonplace for some materials, many polluting products are still destined for landfill.
And even when items are recycled, they are often turned into low-grade materials that are less valuable than the original.
But recycling company TerraCycle takes materials that are traditionally bound for landfill, such as cigarette butts, crisp packets and even chewing gum, and invents ways of recycling them into valuable plastics which are sold to manufacturers.
The company also runs 90,000 collection points worldwide and by offering cash in exchange for trash, encourages communities to hand in their rubbish.
TerraCycle founder Tom Szacky explains: "One of the tricks to garbage is to not think of it as garbage. It is just another raw material that needs to be transformed into something new."
Join Amandeep Bhangu in New Jersey as she collects cigarette butts for recycling and visits a library whose users are benefitting from this recycling revolution.
earthrise can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 2230; Wednesday: 0930; Thursday: 0330; Friday: 1630; Saturday: 2230; Sunday: 0930; Monday: 0330; Tuesday: 1630.
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Source: Al Jazeera