Buy Recycled

Have you ever wondered what happens to your recyclables after they are picked up? Follow their journey as they head to a Materials Recovery Facility and beyond. Eventually, they will end up back on store shelves ready for you to buy again. 

Close the Loop

When you purchase items with recycled content, you are closing the loop. The “loop” refers to the continuous lifecycle of a product from production, consumption, recycling and remanufacturing into a new product.

Father and Son Shopping  There are many good reasons to buy recycled:

  • Creates a greater demand for recycled goods.
  • Saves money and creates jobs.
  • Reduces pollution.
  • Conserves energy.
  • Preserves natural resources.

Unfortunately, the labels on recycled products can be confusing.  

  • Postconsumer - Materials that have served their intended use as consumer items and have been recovered or diverted from solid waste for recycling. Examples of postconsumer recovered materials are used beverage containers and old newspapers.
  • Preconsumer - Materials recovered for recycling prior to use by the consumer. Example: reintroduction of industrial scrap (such as trimmings from paper production, defective aluminum cans, etc.) back into the manufacturing process.
  • Recycled content - The portion of a product, by weight or volume, that is composed of preconsumer and/or postconsumer recovered materials.

When possible, choose the item with the largest amount of postconsumer recycled content.

Sample Products

The items shown below are only a small sampling of what can be made from recyclables.  You can locate similar products by searching the Internet.  For example, to find recycled decking, you can search for "recycled content decking."

  • Plastic bottles can be recycled into many products, including decking, clothing and traffic stops.

  • Mixed paper can become berry cartons, drywall and journals.

  • Steel cans may be recycled into appliances, steel beams and car parts.
  • Glass bottles and jars can become fiberglass, road paving material and glass tiles.

  • Aluminum cans may be recycled into new aluminum cans, bicycles, outdoor furniture and siding.

    See also:

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