Bring Recycling “Full Circle” – Buy Recycled!
There’s more to recycling than setting out your recyclables at the curb. In order to make recycling economically feasible, we must also buy recycled content products and packaging. When we buy recycled products, we create an economic incentive for recyclable materials to be collected, manufactured, and marketed as new products.
Creating a strong market for recycled products is key to completing the recycling process or “closing the loop.” You as a consumers close the loop when you purchase products made from recycled materials, or when you support companies that use recycled feedstocks in their manufacturing processes.
How to identify products with recycled-content
When you see chasing arrows inside a circle, it means that the product or package has been manufactured with at least some materials that have been recycled. This mark is typically found on paper and paperboard products (e.g., cereal boxes or shoe boxes). The mark may include additional information such as the percentage (%) of recycled material (located in the center of the mark or next to the mark) and the type of recycled material. Look for a recycled content of 20% or higher, this tends to be the average for most products (30% is average for paper products).
Post-consumer recycled content is material that has been collected from curbside recycling programs and used by the consumer (us), while pre-consumer material, such as end-runs of magazines or plastic containers at the factory, is collected and reformulated back in during the manufacturing process.
Note that not all products with recycled content are marked with a symbol. If you can’t find recycled content products in a store, ask the manager or owner to carry them.
There are thousands of recycled content products available, and the number is growing.
Here are just a few examples:
- Office supplies, e.g. printer and copier paper, file folders, mailing envelopes, note pads, pens, scissors, etc.
- Bathroom tissue and paper towels
- Plastic trash bags
- Paperboard packaging e.g. cereal boxes, shoe boxes etc.
- Plastic bottles e.g. laundry detergent bottles, etc.
- Outdoor products, e.g. soaker hoses, garden edging boards, benches, tables, wood composite decking