The first factor determining recyclability is the composition of the material itself. Metals, for example, can be reused with little or no loss in quality. Paper and rubber, by this criterion, are less recyclable. Each time paper is recycled, some cellulose fibers are broken. Shorter fibers can mean weaker paper of perceived lower quality and value. Vulcanizing is an irreversible chemical process that precludes recycling rubber in its original form. Both materials may be reused in other applications often of lower value than the original one. To be recyclable, the discarded material must have a collection infrastructure at the source of waste generation, at a central collection site, or at curbside. The recovered material must also have a market. If it is priced noncompetitively or no market exists, if it does not meet specifications, or if it requires special technology investments which cannot be recovered through future sales, the recovered material may be stockpiled or discarded rather than recycled. ?? 1996 International Association for Mathematical Geology.