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Recycled materials are not truly recycled until we reuse them. The materials that we recycle do not truly benefit the environment until a demand is created for them. You can increase the demand by using your purchasing power. Be an environmental shopper!

Most importantly, buying recycled turns waste into a useful resource for making other products and diverts waste from our landfills. So close the loop and buy recycled!


Buying Recycled: What Consumers Should Look For


At Home

Look for post-consumer and recyclable materials when shopping.

Definitions of Terms on Product Packaging

Here are a few terms you may encounter.

Pre-consumer waste: This includes the paper scraps, overruns, and misprints from the manufacturer. These fibers are reused to produce new paper. It does not include any material from household or commercial recycling programs.

Post-consumer waste: These materials have all been produced, sold, consumed, and collected. Anything you recycle at home or at work is included in this category. Using these materials helps promote recycling programs by creating a market for our recyclables. In order for recycling programs to continue, we as consumers must purchase products with at least some post-consumer waste.

Recyclable: The word "recyclable" simply means that the product can be recycled. If you see this on packaging, it does not mean that the product is made of recycled materials.

Check for the recycle symbol on the following products:

  • Cereal, cookie, and cracker packages
  • Canned foods and beverages
  • Detergent and cleaning supply containers
  • Glass containers
  • Shampoo and beauty products
  • Paper towels and bathroom tissue
  • Writing paper, notepads, greeting cards, and stationary
  • Carpeting
  • Tools
  • Plastic flower pots, trash cans, bins, and fencing
  • Packing boxes
  • Re-refined motor oil
  • Retreaded tires
  • Automotive batteries
  • Insulation in ski jackets, gloves, and sleeping bags made from recycled PET bottles.

At Work

Businesses can have a large effect on the recycling market by creating demand for recycled material. Therefore, it is critical for governments and businesses to establish programs to buy recycled products. Buying recycled has several benefits:

Encourage the purchase of recycled materials where you work
  • Creating new markets reducing the need for disposal.
  • Incentivising manufacturers to use more recycled materials.
  • Conserving resources and energy.
  • Saving money.
  • Enhancing your organization’s image.
  • Creating jobs and economic opportunities.




Examples of Recycled Materials:

There are many possible items your business or organization can purchase that are made from recycled material ranging from office supplies to retreaded tires. Here is a list of some of them:

  • Printing and writing papers
  • Trash cans
  • Bulletin boards
  • Pencils
  • Recycled computer disks
  • Rulers
  • Pallets
  • Re-refined oil
  • Recycled antifreeze
  • Retreaded tires
  • Building insulation
  • Safety vest and hats
  • Rubberized asphalt/grassphault
  • Flooring
  • Food service containers (paper and plastic)
  • Packaging materials
  • Disposable suits (for landfill or other work)