One of the easiest ways for us to lessen our ecological footprint is to recycle. Buying new products made from recycled materials feels like the obvious way to close the circle. However, a lot of us don’t actually think enough about what we’re buying. The magical phrase to remember is post-consumer recycled content.
What’s The Difference?
As Mother Nature Network points out, not all recycled content is created equal. If something just says it contains 80 percent recycled content, then it might just mean it’s made from leftover scraps and materials that wound up on the manufacturer’s floor. Sort of like how the dum dum mystery flavors are just combinations of the leftover candy batches, it’s a manufacturer turning their own leftovers into fresh products.
Is that good? Yes, it’s better to trim waste to the bone than to throw that material away. However, post-consumer recycled content was taken out of the recycle bin and remade into a new product. Examples include cardboard made from old soda boxes or tee-shirts made from soda bottles fished out of the ocean. Post-consumer means that the material was already made into a product, used, and recycled before it became what it is now. This is the eco-friendly sweet spot.
Be Mindful of Where Your Money Goes
While buying anything made with recycled content is better than just buying something made from fresh materials, it’s also important to do your due diligence. Encouraging manufacturers to minimize their waste is important. Encouraging them to actually use waste material to make fresh products is even better. This ensures less waste ends up in a landfill.
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