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Waste Wise: Buy/Manufacture Recycled

Buying recycled means purchasing products made with recovered materials. A necessary precedent to buying recycled is that manufacturers purchase recovered materials and use them in lieu of virgin materials in the manufacture of new products. For technical assistance information about how to implement buying and manufacturing recycled activities at your organization, visit the Buy Recycled Links, Manufacture Recycled Links, Buy/Manufacture Recycled Publications, and Buy Recycled FAQs pages.

Sample Goals

WasteWise partners commit to increasing overall recycled content in the products they purchase, either by purchasing recycled products in lieu of virgin products or by increasing the recycled content in those recycled products they already buy. Manufacturers have the additional option to increase the percentage of postconsumer content in the products they produce. Sample goals set by WasteWise partners in this area include:

  • Purchasing recycled-content products and supplies for the cafeteria and office areas, as well as for maintenance and janitorial operations.

  • Revising purchasing specifications to allow greater purchase of recycled-content materials, and purchase at least one new product with recycled content each year, starting with office supplies.

  • Increasing the postconsumer recycled content in all product lines by 5 percent each year.

  • Reviewing the bid list to identify all products with recycled content and instituting a preferred purchase policy for products with recycled content.

Sample Results

Some of the recycled-content products most frequently purchased by WasteWise partners include copier paper, paper towels, and toilet paper. Many organizations also manufactured new products with recycled content or increased the percentage of recycled content in existing manufactured products, diverting waste, and promoting wise use of materials. Listed below are some examples of WasteWise partner achievements in buying and manufacturing recycled.

  • Xanterra South Rim, LLC switched to chlorine-free, 100 percent post-consumer recycled-content copy paper. It also sells blankets, T-shirts, and sweatshirts that contain between 60 to 100 percent recycled-content materials.
  • In one year, The Seydel Companies increased the amount of recycled content materials in its products to 30 percent, while increasing the volume of recycled raw PET purchased for manufacturing by 60 percent.
  • Steelcase Inc. manufactures and sells environmentally friendly products containing fabrics made from 100 percent recycled beverage bottles and particleboard made with 100 percent recycled wood fiber.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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