The recycling loop is incomplete until recycled materials are re-manufactured into products and bought by consumers. Therefore it is important to “buy recycled.” Products made from recycled materials consume less energy, use fewer or no raw materials and sometimes cost less. There are thousands of manufacturers and retailers offering great products made from recycled materials. Some examples of products made from recycled beverage containers are: tote bags, aluminum baseball bats, plastic playground equipment, backpacks, T-shirts, flip flops, etc.
What does “Recycled” mean?
The important thing to know when you want to buy a recycled product is how much post-consumer material is used. Post-consumer refers to material the public has used (not just manufacturing scraps) and then recycled. Look for a percentage of recycled content to be shown, e.g. 50%, and then for what part of the residual content, e.g. 10%, is post-consumer. The higher the number the better. Many organizations, such as the City of Davis, have instituted procurement policies for recycled products. This means that the City places a priority on the purchase of products made with recycled materials when they are available. The more people who buy recycled, the more the message is conveyed to manufacturers that a market for recycled products exists and investing in re-manufacturing is worthwhile. That makes investing less risky and helps bring down the cost of recycled products.
What’s the difference between these two symbols?
When you see the recycling symbol inside a circle on a product, it means that the product was made with recycled materials. When you see the recycling symbol on it’s own, that means that the product can be recycled; it does not indicate whether the product was made from recycled materials.