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Solid Waste
Buy Recycled
Buying Recycled

You are not recycling unless you are buying recycled-content items. By purchasing items that are made from recycled content, you assure the continuing success of your local recycling programs. Why, you may ask? Because by buying recycled, you create a demand for recyclables that you create. Without a demand for recyclables and revenue generated through the sale of recyclables, the cost of a recycling program escalates significantly.

If you aren't sure how to buy recycled, here are some tips:

  • Determining which items contain a recycled content
  • The importance of post-consumer content
  • Dismissing old myths about recycling
  • Recycled content items that are commonly available
  • Special recycled-content items and vendors.
  • Look at the Labels

Look at the labels on items you buy. Recycled items are labeled, "Made from % recycled material." Don't be confused by items that sport the term "recyclable." Almost everything is recyclable. Just because manufacturers indicate that their items are "Recyclable" does not necessarily mean that they are made from recycled products. Support the companies that are making new products from recyclables to make sure you continue to have a place to take your recyclables.

Maximize the Post-Consumer Content

Most items made from recycled-content materials will usually identify the amount of post-consumer or pre-consumer content. By post-consumer content, it means the percentage of materials that come from recycling programs such as ours. By pre-consumer content, it means the amount of materials that are recycled internally within the manufacturing process. Now, while it is great that manufacturers have an internal recycling process, their internal recycling process does not stimulate the demand for recyclables. In other words, only post-consumer content counts toward generating demand for recyclables collected in local recycling programs. Thus, the greater the post-consumer content percentage the better for local recycling programs.

Dismiss the Myths

Myths remain about the quality and the cost of Buying Recycled. When recycled content products were first promoted in the mainstream in the late 1980's and early 1990's, many well meaning persons tried the products only to find that they failed to meet quality specifications. Much has changed since then. Recycled paper no longer causes paper jams in copy machines. And, recycled content items do not cost substantially more than other items. Demand for recycled content items and competition among manufacturers of recycled content products has increased. Thus, high quality materials can be found at lower costs throughout the area.

Just Ask!

There are a myriad of products that contain recycled content these days. Packaging is the most often found product that contains recycled content materials. Almost every corrugated cardboard box contains recycled content. The commonly found chipboard boxes (e.g., cereal boxes, prepacked food boxes) are generally composed of recycled materials.

There are many other products that may not be so evident. For example, recycled paper, envelopes, and office products are available if you ask. Reams of recycled paper can be purchased from most major office supply retailer. Most copy centers have recycled paper if you ask for it.

The key is to look for it and ask for it.

Special Mention

The following lists are not comprehensive, and do not represent an endorsement or recommendation of any kind by the Greenville County government:

  • Kinkos always stock its self-service copy machines with recycled content paper
  • Staples currently sells boxes (10 reams) of recycled content paper

Click here for a list we have compiled of vendors that sell products made from recycled materials.