- Recycling: Unintended Consequences. The process of making new things out of the old materials is known as recycling. It is important to understand that the method of processing for different materials varies. For example, recyclables like glass, aluminum cans and steel need to be melted into a liquid form and then remolded into new products. Recyclables such as glass, paper and certain plastic products may have to be crushed, or shredded, as part of the processing to extract the basic elements or raw materials for use in making new products.