United States
                        Environmental Protection
                       Solid Waste and
                       Emergency Response
January 1994
WasteWi$e  Tip Sheet
Buying  or Manufacturing
Recycled   Products
                                    WasteWise Program Elements
                                     Waste Prevention
                                     Recycling Collection
                                    m Buying or Manufacturing Recycled Products
What Is "Buying
What Are the
Benefits of Buying
or Manufacturing
Goods with Recycled
How Does
Purchasing Recycled
Products and
Recovered Raw
Materials Fit into
the WasteWise
"Buying recycled" means purchasing recycled products (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.

Purchasing recycled products or recovered materials for manufacturing con-
serves valuable landfill space by using goods made from materials that oth-
erwise would have been  discarded. Using recycled products and packaging
also conserves natural resources and energy.  In addition, purchasing recy-
cled products promotes the continued manufacture of these products and
helps strengthen markets for collected materials.

This component of the Waste Wise program helps to " close the recycling
loop" by encouraging the manufacture and purchase of products contain-
ing recovered materials,  thus providing more customers for the recyclable
materials that companies and communities are collecting.
Companies in the Waste Wise program commit to purchase products con-
taining either preconsumer or postconsumer recycled content in lieu of
products manufactured from virgin materials, and/or purchase products
with an increased percentage of preconsumer or postconsumer recycled
content in goods already being purchased. Participants are asked to moni-
tor their progress over the calendar year and report annually on the
amount of money spent  on the purchase of recycled products.
Manufacturers also have the option of increasing the percentage of postcon-
sumer content in a product or product line they manufacture. Manufactur-
ers who choose this option will monitor their progress over the calendar
year and report annually on the increase of postconsumer content in each
product or product line selected.
Other elements of the Waste Wise program include a commitment to imple-
ment significant waste prevention activities and to expand or improve pro-
grams to collect recyclable materials.

What Do Recycled      The terminology used to refer to recycling, recycled products, and recov-
Content Terms Mean? ered raw materials can seem confusing. The following definitions are pro-
                            vided to help clarify some of these terms.
                              Recycled content. The portion of a product, by weight or volume, that
                               is composed of preconsumer and/or postconsumer recovered materials.
                              Preconsumer materials. Materials recovered for recycling prior to use
                               by the consumer, excluding materials and by-products generated from
                               and commonly reused within an original manufacturing process.  Exam-
                               ples of preconsumer recovered materials are envelope cuttings and scrap
                               from plastic manufacturing.
                              Postconsumer materials. Materials that have served their intended
                               use as consumer items and have been recovered or diverted from solid
                               waste for recycling. Examples of postconsumer recovered materials in-
                               clude used beverage containers and old computer printouts.
                            The percentage of recovered materials  used in a product or within product
                            categories can vary significantly.  For example, corrugated boxes can be
                            made from 0 to 40 percent postconsumer materials.  Generally, higher lev-
                            els of recycled content are desirable, but other factors, such as perform-
                            ance requirements, will likely need to  be considered in your purchase
                            Although WasteWise does not require that you seek out products with
                            postconsumer content, EPA encourages  businesses to do so in order to create
                            markets for materials that have been collected by businesses and communities.
                            Manufacturers that choose to increase the recycled content in their products as
                            their WasteWise commitment are required to select postconsumer materials
                            in order to help build markets for materials collected by businesses and
What Kind of
Products Are
Available with
Recycled Content?
A wide variety of products are now
 Paper and paperboard products
 Retread tires
 Road building materials
 Erasable boards
 Plastic pipe
 Plastic desk accessories
 Outdoor benches and tables
 Playground equipment
available with recycled content,

  Bicycle racks
  Wall panels
  Sign posts
  Garbage bags
  Fences and fence posts
  Sign posts
  Office products
                                                         BUYING OR MANUFACTURING RECYCLED PRODUCTS

Do Products and
Raw Materials with
Recovered Material
Content Cost More
Than Virgin Products
and Materials?
The cost-competitiveness of recovered materials and products is highly
variable and dependent on the specific product or material, and supply and
demand market forces. For example, in the past, paper made with recov-
ered content was often considerably more expensive than virgin paper. To-
day, however, the price of many types of recycled paper is comparable to
that of virgin paper.  As more recycled products of all types are purchased,
manufacturers increasingly will realize economies of scale, and prices
should tend to decrease and stabilize.
Are Recycled
Products and
Recovered Raw
Materials of High
How Do We Start or
Improve Our "Buy
Recycled" Program?
In the past, some recycled products did not perform as well as their virgin
counterparts. Today, however, recycled products are manufactured to
meet the same performance standards as virgin products.  Work with your
vendors to purchase recycled products that meet your needs and specifica-
tions. When considering any new product, whether it is made from virgin
or recovered materials, it is advisable to obtain samples and, if necessary,
to test the products on your equipment and with your end users.
When using recovered raw materials to manufacture recycled products,
the key to quality is securing reliable quantities of clean, homogenous ma-
terials.  The quality of recovered materials should meet your operation's
technical specifications. Be sure to consider performance standards or ap-
plicable regulations before switching to recovered raw materials.

A program to preferentially purchase recycled products should involve end
users, operations staff, and company purchasing managers.  You can start
buying recycled by determining which products and raw materials used by
your company are available with recycled content. Select these as an al-
ternative to  virgin products or materials, where possible. To get started,
you may want to begin with one or a few product categories.
You should review contract specifications and revise them  to encourage
suppliers to  provide recycled content products and raw materials. Compa-
nies sometimes require more stringent product specifications than are ac-
tually needed. For example, many companies have very high paper
brightness standards for applications where high brightness is not neces-
sary. Reviewing and revising paper brightness standards would facilitate
the purchase of recycled paper.
Sources of Additional Information

The Buy Recycled Guide. This guide describes the
basics of purchasing products with recycled content and
provides state information and contacts.
     Buy Recycled Business Alliance
     National Recycling Coalition
     1101 30th Street NW., Suite 305
     Washington, DC 20007
     202 625-6406
                      The Official Recycled Products Guide. $155 per
                      single issue, $275 per year for updates and a
                      monthly newsletter. This is a comprehensive catalogue
                      of recycled products, indexed by product category and
                      recovered material content. It also contains an extensive
                      reference section.
                          American Recycling Market, Inc.
                          P.O. Box 577
                          Ogdensburg, NY 13669
                          800 267-0707
                                                        BUYING OR MANUFACTURING RECYCLED PRODUCTS

McDonald's McRecycle USA, March 1992.  Free. This
206-page reference provides information focused on
recycled  construction materials and products.
     McDonald's Corporation
     McDonald's Plaza
     Oak Brook, IL 60521
     800 220-3809
Buy Recycled Training Manual, December, 1993.
$20.00.  Although the audience for this training manual
is government agencies, the information also is
applicable to the private sector.
     Richard Keller
     The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority
     25 South Charles Street, Suite 2105
     Baltimore,  MD 21401
     410 333-2730
The Business and Government Buyers Guide to
Recycled Products, 1992. $24.95.  This 166 page
document provides general information on buying
recycled with specific information on markets in
     Buy Recycled Campaign
     Californians Against Waste Foundation
     926 J Street, Suite 606
     Sacramento, CA 95814
     916 443-8317
Resource Guide to Office Products Manufacturers,
Recycling, Products, and Programs, 1993. $20.00.
This 71-page book lists companies that sell
recycled-content office products.
     National Office Products Association
     301 N. Fairfax Street
     Alexandria, VA 22314
     703 549-9040
                WasteWise is a partnership between EPA and America's leading businesses.
                Participants set their own waste prevention, recycling, and recycled  product
                purchasing goals.  WasteWise supports company efforts through technical
                assistance and recognition of participants' successes.

                For more information about any aspect of WasteWise, call 800 EPAWISE
                (800 372-9473).
                                                           BUYING OR MANUFACTURING RECYCLED PRODUCTS