During a trip to the store, my 18 year old son asked me what does post-consumer waste mean.
I explained to Michael that over the past fifteen years or so, product packaging has undergone an explosion. Pick up any three boxed products and you will probably see some type of recycling label.
So what is the difference between recycled-content and post-consumer recycled content?
A recycled-content product is an item that contains recovered materials. Recovered materials are wastes that have been diverted from conventional disposal such as landfills for another use. Recovered materials include both pre-consumer and post-consumer wastes.
Pre-consumer materials are generated by manufacturers and processors, and may consist of scrap, trimmings and other by-products that were never used in the consumer market.
Post-consumer material is an end product that has completed its life cycle as a consumer item and would otherwise have been disposed of as a solid waste. Post-consumer materials include recyclables collected in commercial and residential recycling programs, such as office paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, plastics and metals.
Recycled-content products may contain some pre-consumer waste, some post-consumer waste or both. A product does not have to contain 100 percent recovered materials to be considered “recycled,” but clearly the higher the percentage of recycled content, the greater the amount of waste that is diverted from disposal. Always look at the level of post-consumer recycled content in a product.