Buying Recycled

Helping Your Recycling Program Succeed
Recycling is an important part of a waste reduction program. But for recycling to succeed, we must not only recycle but buy recycled products. It's easy! Look for the recycled content symbol or read the labels to determine if a product or the packaging contains recycled content. Note: Not all products that contain recycled material indicate this fact on the label. It may take some research to determine the recycled content in a product.

Do you know why the recycling symbol has three chasing arrows? Each arrow represents one step in the three step process that completes the recycling loop. The first arrow is the collection step. This is when you put your recyclable material into your curbside recycling bin or take them to a local drop-off center. The collected materials are then prepared to be marketed and are sold to a manufacturing facility.

The second arrow is the manufacturing step. The recyclable materials are converted into new products and shipped to stores across the country to be placed on shelves as new consumer goods. The third arrow represents the step where you, the consumer, purchase products made with recycled content. The recycling loop isn't complete until the materials collected at curbside and drop-off sites are remanufactured into new products and purchased by consumers - completing the recycling loop.

Buying Recycled Vocabulary
  • Post-consumer recycled content: The product is made from materials collected through recycling programs like ours
  • Pre-consumer recycled content: The item contains waste material generated during the manufacturing process (e.g., aluminum trimmings from the can manufacturing process)
  • Recycled vs. Recyclable: A recycled product is one made out of recycled material; a recyclable product is one that may or may not be able to be recycled in your community

Purchase Recycled Products
For unique recycled products visit the following websites: