By Katy Cowan

According to the European Commission, every person in Europe is currently producing, on average, six tonnes of waste per year, with only 40% of it reused or recycled. Fascinated by this rather depressing fact, Belgian photographer Paul Bulteel visited more than 50 recycling facilities in Europe to document the waste we throw away, as well as the ongoing efforts for recycling.

Through these strange yet beautiful images, Paul captures the activity of collecting, sorting, recycling and reusing waste – highlighting what becomes of our discarded paper, glass, plastic and other such leftovers when they are chucked out.

Now available in a new book, Cycle & Recycle of which the description reads: “Waste: like the air we breathe, it is part of life. When badly managed, it destroys habitats on land, pollutes the air, and befouls our rivers and oceans. For human populations this translates into major health issues. Avoiding excess consumption and recycling waste are therefore crucial. But what does recycling really mean?

“Although the term is familiar, hardly anyone can form a mental picture of what recycling actually entails. Belgian photographer Paul Bulteel takes on this task in a series of striking and highly illuminating photographs of what happens when our discarded paper, metal, glass, plastic, appliances, clothing and countless other industrial byproducts and leftovers are broken down and transformed into new materials. Visually fascinating and well documented, these images give us food for thought.”

Via The New Yorker

Read more here:: Cycle & Recycle: Photographer documents the strange, captivating beauty of recycled waste