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If you are a person who avidly recycles, are you a recyclist?

  • I corrected your title, just for visual reasons. – Alenanno May 6 '11 at 16:21
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    If your intent was referring to "one who recycles" or someone who cares about the environment, he or she would be called an environmentalist, not a recyclist. – Neil May 6 '11 at 16:27
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    No, but that is an awesome word for a driver of used bicycles. C.f. recyclista, an avid driver of used bicycles. – elliot42 May 7 '11 at 2:14
  • @Neil: Environmentalists care about the environment, I just like to turn old things into new things. So I am a self proclaimed Recyclist. @elliot42: I also like used bicycles ;P – Tester101 May 7 '11 at 2:25
  • Well then you are a recycler, not a recyclist. I think environmentalist encompasses every aspect regarding helping the environment, including recycling. – Neil May 9 '11 at 13:54
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Apart from deliberately quirky usage, I think not. You'd be a recycler.

Things can always change, but I don't think there's really a case for accepting recyclist as a valid English word just yet.

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    But a recycler would be the person/company who takes the material and recycles it (into a new product). In modern use there probably needs to be a term for somebody who takes stuff to be recycled – mgb May 6 '11 at 16:58
  • In the modern world we need the word recyclist about as much as we need the word breather. Anyone who doesn't do these things is headed for an evolutionary dead-end. – FumbleFingers May 6 '11 at 17:12
  • You could also say you don't need "environmentalist" for the same reason ;-) Of course symmetry says that we should need a word "environmentaler" for somebody who makes the environment – mgb May 6 '11 at 17:16
  • @Martin The word "recycle" itself doesn't distinguish between putting something in a blue bin and actually melting down (or whatever) and re-using it, either. – Matthew Read May 6 '11 at 17:17
  • @Matthew - that's why we need "recyclist" – mgb May 6 '11 at 17:25
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recycler vs. recyclist vs. recyclers vs recyclists

It doesn't even show in the NGram Viewer but there's at least 77 books that mention "recyclist"

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The OED (Oxford English Dictionary) classifies it as rare (and maybe it means something else too, but I'm not sure from the definition given), while the OALD and the NOAD don't even mention it.

The word you're looking for is recycler, which doesn't appear in the OALD, but on the NOAD it's given as a derivative word from Recycle and on the OED "One who or that which recycles (waste products, etc.)."

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The third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary ("fully updated"online, March 2016) has the following definition for

recyclist

An advocate of the recycling of waste products; a recycler.

and includes two usage examples not included in previous versions of the entry for this word, namely

1986 Peace News 23 May 17/1, I recommend all people who are tree lovers, recyclists and on low incomes to read friends' copies, buy copies collectively or go to the library.

1998 N.Y. Times 20 Sept. 26 Tap-water enthusiasts and recyclists worried that plastic containers will clog landfills.

The OED has also dropped the description rare for this word.

So, yes, it's a word, and it's a synonym for recycler. Not that we needed the OED to verify this.

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