Recycling is more than the act of putting your soda can or sauce jar into the recycling bin instead of in the trash. It also means buying recycled-content products whenever possible. This ensures a healthy market for recyclables and encourages manufacturers to expand their use of recycled materials in products.
Guidelines to follow when shopping for recycled-content products or products packaged in recycled materials:
- The presence of the recycling symbol does not always mean that the product is made from recycled material. It means that the product is recyclable if accepted by your local recycling program. Know this difference between the words "recycled" and "recyclable."
- Look for the % post-consumer recycled content. This is material recycled through collection from consumers and businesses. The manufacturer must include this percent if labeling the product "recycled" unless it is 100%. Choose the product with the highest percent.
- Glass bottles and jars, molded pulp containers (gray or brown egg cartons, seedling pots, etc.), steel products, and aluminum products are good choices because they always contain some recycled content even if not labeled as such.
The quantity and variety of products made with recycled materials is increasing as more people Buy Recycled. Many products are price-competitive with their non-recycled counterparts. Some may be more expensive, but also may be of better quality or more durable. Common recycled products include:
- Packaging such as cereal boxes, glass jars, soup cans, shampoo bottles
- Paper products such as writing and office paper, paper towels, toilet paper
- Toner cartridges for printers
- Recycled plastic fencing, decking, and park benches
- Clothing and carpet made from recycled plastic soda bottles
- Motor oil
- Doormats and playground cover made from recycled tires
- Aluminum siding
Businesses are in a unique position to support recycling through their purchasing power and by setting an example for employees to follow. Buy Recycled at your business or encourage your employer to do so. See Business Recycling for more information.
The possibilities for recycled content products are endless... The following links provide more information on specific recycled products and where to buy them.