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Anything is possible, from a matter of seconds to many millions of years. . Nature started recycling organic matter like plants and trees hundreds of millions of years ago, and eventually converted it into fuels like coal, methane gas and oil ..... . ..... much of which awaits extraction and use to complete that phase of recycling (it has not actually been recycled until is has been used in a manner different from its original use as a living organism). . The natural "Hydologic" water cycle has been continually purifying salty and dirty water by evaporation and condensation (i.e. distillation) for over 4 billion years on earth with various cyclic durations between a matter of days or weeks (in temperate and tropical zones) and thousands of years (in the polar regions) . http://funadvice.com/r/14t8mu5bto9 . I often recycle things as soon as I have finished using them - sometimes it takes seconds - e.g when I reuse a plastic fruit punnet from the supermarket, as a seed-tray / plant-pot, or a empty jam jar as a storage vessel for a particular size of screw, or nail etc. - I have shelves full of them making their contents easily identifiable and readily accessible. . I compost all my faded plants, grass cuttings dead leaves etc., and it takes between 6 months and about 18 months before I reuse it to fertilize the borders by top-dressing or digging in, or to fill plant pots and grow new plants - typically from seeds I collected the previous year. . During cold spells, I burn combustible waste on an open fire to recycle their stored energy as heat in an open fire thus heating the house and preserving other fossil fuels. It take minutes to store the usable stuff, sometimes hours to prepare it for use, then minutes to light the fire to regain the valuable heat, ..... . ..... after a variable storage time waiting for the temperature to drop sufficiently to be worth lighting it. . The average person can recycle almost everything that they have used for themselves if they want, and then it is typically between a few days and a few years.
Best wishes - Majikthise. .
Depends on what you recycle.
To recycle paper, you can just use old paper instead of wood to make new paper. The machines for it are a little different, but it's no more complicated than making new paper from wood. Glass is also easy to recycle. Sort it by color, melt it and make new glass out of it.
Plastics is a different thing. There are several hundred different kinds of plastics and you first need to sort them into different materials. Then there are some plastics that can be remade into a thing of the same sort. But many plastics that can't be remade into the same thing. Especially if they are combined with other materials. But they often can still make other useful stuff out of it.
A banana will recycle in less time then plutonium.