The player may "recycle" just about anything by dragging and dropping the item onto the recycler in their inventory. Ammunition, food, healing items, and even implants can be recycled. It does the exact opposite of a Replicator - it breaks the item down into nanites, rather than converting nanites into items.
When you recycle, it recycles a whole stack (everything in a single inventory slot) at once. Be very careful not to drop your recycler onto a large stack of valuable items, such as Medical Kits.
Early incidents in which recyclers were used for disposal of bodies led to quick restrictions on what sort of items the recycler will accept.
- Don't buy one. It's expensive, it does not consume on use, and you'll find one. There is one replicator on the Operations Deck, that when hacked will give you a recycler earlier in the game.
- It is basically the "item seller" of the game. Those "useless" items lying around the ship, like plants, smokes, magazines and mugs, aren't useless anymore once you get the recycler device.
- Use it to bolster your nanite supply for a quick purchase of something more useful, like healing supplies.
- Since hacking is partially a game of chance, you can use the recycler to counter the cost of multiple failed hacks.
- The amount of nanites received is generally quite small, and does not appear to mimic the cost-to-value ratio as perceived by the Value-Rep kiosks. You'll have to do a lot of recycling to get decent numbers, so use items which are common and serve no purpose for you.
- Food items provide only a marginal boost to HP, especially later in the game. If you are comfortable without the bonus HP, recycle them (and buy a hypo or medkit instead).
- Recycle ammunition for weapons you do not intend to use.
- The Tier Four psionic discipline Molecular Transmutation has a similar effect. Which option is most profitable depends on a large number of factors, so feel free to experiment.