YOU CAN HELP MAKE
RECYCLING WORK FOR EVERYONE BY
"CLOSING THE LOOP."
Like many other Americans, you
collect and sort items that can be recycled. That's good, because you
can help your community reduce the amount of garbage going to the
landfill. But putting items out for collection or dropping them off at
the local center is only the first of three steps in the recycling
process. It may surprise you to learn that what you BUY is just as
important as saving the things your recycling collection center takes.
To Market, To Market...
Today approximately 21% of our trash
is recovered annually for recycling. Where do these millions of pounds
of recyclables go after collection? Manufacturers use them to make new
products---recycling's second step. The third and final step returns
the new products to the marketplace. This step is one that YOU need to
support if recycling is to remain part of the solution to the
country's garbage issue.
Why Should I Buy Recycled?
You "close the loop" when you buy
items or packaging made from recycled materials. They have now come
full-circle: from bag or bin to a manufacturer, to the store shelf,
and back to your home. And after using the item, you can start the
loop again by saving it for the local recycling program. When you buy
recycled, markets are created and a use is assured for recyclables
being collected in your community and in thousands of others.
Manufacturers will respond by continuing to use recyclables in their
Without informed consumers and a
ready market for products made of recycled materials, local recycling
programs will become more costly and fewer recyclables may be
collected and processed. More reusable material will end up in
landfills, and communities will need to deal with an increased amount
How Do I Find Them?
Products and packaging made form
recycled material are everywhere - in stores that sell groceries,
office supplies, auto parts, and everything in between. Recyclables
are transformed into an amazing variety of new products. Plastic mild
jugs return to yards and parks as plastic lumber and picnic tables.
Steel food cans return to the hardware store as nails and screws.
Newspapers become egg cartons. There's no limit to the things that can
be made from recyclables.
Many products are identified recycled
or partially recycled on the label or on the product itself. Others
may contain recycled material but may not be identified. For instance,
there's a good chance that the glass containers, aluminum and steel
cans, paperboard boxes and plastic detergent bottles you buy are made
of some recycled material.
Some products and packaging also have
labels describing the amount of "pre-consumer" and "post-consumer"
waste that was used. "Pre-consumer" waste is also known as
"manufacturing waste" and includes any scraps, trimmings, over-runs,
etc., from the manufacturing process. "Post-consumer" waste is a
product or other material that has served its intended use and has
been discarded and then collected for recycling.
Many Happy Returns
Here are just a few examples of new
products made from recyclables:
• Steel food cans - appliances,
auto parts, construction beams.
• Aluminum cans - new soda cans, siding for your house.
• Paper - new writing and office papers, building insulation,
• Plastic bottles and milk jugs - plant pots, plastic lumber, can
liners, lawn furniture
• Glass containers - new glass packaging, decorative tiles, paving