Buying Recycled-Content Products
Buying Recycled
Purchasing recycled content
products creates markets for
materials recovered from munic-
ipal and corporate recycling pro-
grams, which fosters
sustainability and conserves nat-
ural resources and energy In
addition, purchasing recycled
products promotes their contin-
Buy-irig Re-cy'-cled
Purchasing products manufactured with recycled content.
purchasing products with an
increased percentage of precon-
sumer or postconsumer recycled
content. Manufacturers have the
option of increasing the percent-
age of postconsumer content in
products they manufacture.
Man-u-fac'-tur-ing Re-cy'-cled v. H
Manufacturing new products using recovered materials instead
of virgin materials.
chase recycled products. Work
with your suppliers to purchase
recycled content products that
meet your needs and specifica-
tions. When considering any
new product, it is advisable to
obtain samples and, if necessary,
test the products on your equip-
ment and with your end users.
ued manufacture and completes
the recycling loop.
This component of the
WasteWise program helps to
close the recycling loop by
encouraging the manufacture
and purchase of products con-
taining recycled content, thus
providing demand for recycled
WasteWise partners commit to
purchasing products with pre-
consumer or postconsumer
recycled content in lieu of
products manufactured from
virgin materials. If a partner is
already buying recycled prod-
ucts, it also has the option of
Overcoming Barriers to
Buying Recycled
In general, recycled-content
products perform as well as their
virgin counterparts, and in many
cases the two are indistinguish-
able. In some instances, they
perform better. You do not need
to compromise on quality to pur-
Re-cov'-ered Ma-ter-i-als
Material and byproducts that have been recovered or diverted
from solid waste. Does not include those materials and byprod-
ucts generated from and commonly reused within an original
manufacturing process.
 Availability and costs of mate-
rial feedstocks
The cost-
of recovered
materials and
products is high-
ly variable and
dependent on
supply and demand forces and
the specific product or materials.
The price of products, whether
virgin or recycled, is affected by
many variables, including:

Buying Recycled-Content Products
	Energy costs
	Distributor mark-up
	Transportation charges
	Quantity of the item ordered
	Whether the product is a
common stock item or
requires a special order
	Geographical location
As more organizations demand
recycled content products, avail-
ability of such products should
increase and prices should
Starting or Improving a
Buy Recycled Program
There are five steps companies
and organizations should follow
to implement an effective buy
recycled program.
1.	Develop a policy on buying
recycled products. Resources
are available below to help
develop a corporate policy state-
ment to promote the purchase
of recycled-content
products. You may also
contact the WasteWise
Helpline for additional
2.	Form a committee to
develop the program.
Be sure to include
staff from different
Pre-con'-su-mer Ma-ter-i-als
Materials recovered for recycling prior to use by the consumer,
excluding materials and by-products generated from and com-
monly reused within an original manufacturing process.
departments to help purchasers
and users understand each
other's needs and constraints.
3.	Conduct an assessment of the
products that your organiza-
tion buys. This assessment
will identify currently pur-
chased products that have
recycled content and products
that are not currently pur-
chased with recycled content,
but could be.
4.	Examine your contract speci-
fications to ensure that they
do not unnecessarily hinder
the purchase of recycled
products. Some contracts
require more stringent product
-specifications than are actually
necessary. Reviewing and
revising contracts can encour-
age sup-
pliers to
Products Available with
Recycled Content
A wide variety of products are
available with recycled content.
Here are just a few examples:
Bicycle racks
Building supplies
Ceiling panels
Containers and crates
Fences and fence posts
Office supplies
Outdoor benches and tables
Paper and paperboard products
Playground equipment
Retread tires
Road building materials
Wastebaskets and recycling bins
Post-con '-su-mer Ma-ter-i-als n.
Materials that have served their intended use as consumer items and have been recovered or diverted from
solid waste for recycling.

5. Determine the availability of
recycled products that meet
your specifications in your
area. Contact your current
suppliers to find out what
products are available and
inform him/her that you are
interested in procuring these
types of products. If your cur-
rent supplier does not supply
recycled-content products,
consult the resources below.
Working with Vendors to
Increase Awareness of
Buy Recycled
Remind your vendors on a
routine basis that your compa-
ny has committed to buying
recycled products. In addition
to product suppliers, companies
can ask other service contrac-
tors, such as printers, janitorial
service providers, and mainte-
nance contractors to use recycled
Educating Employees
About Buy Recycled
Promote the program internally
through employee newsletters,
routine training, or e-mail.
Employee education is necessary
to help your employees under-
stand your WasteWise commit-
ments and how they can help
ensure success. Educated employ-
ees can offer suggestions to
improve your program and help
you purchase quality recycled
content products. Employee satis-
faction with the products you pur-
chase is key to program success.
Monitoring and
Evaluating the Buy
Recycled Program
To effectively evaluate the
success of the buy recycled pro-
gram, collect data, such as the
product/material purchased, cur-
rent percent recycled content,
previous percent recycled con-
tent, amount purchased, and
amount spent. This data collec-
tion will allow you to make
changes to the program as neces-
(( Re-cy'-cled Con-tent' n. J J
The portion of a product, by weight or volume, that is composed
of preconsumer and/or postconsumer recovered materials.
Additional Information Available from EPA
U.S. EPA's Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG) program is part of EPA's continuing effort to pro-
mote the use of materials recovered from solid waste. The CPG Web site includes EPA's list of designated
products and accompanying recycled-content recommendations. The Web site can be found at
U.S. EPA's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program (EPP) encourages and assists federal agencies in
purchasing environmentally preferable products and services. The EPP Database has environmental infor-
mation on products and services the federal government buys. The database also includes contract lan-
guage, specifications, and policies created and used by federal and state governments and others to buy
environmentally preferable products and services. The EPP Web site can be found at