Do you know why the recycling symbol has three chasing arrows? Each arrow represents one step in the three step recycling process that completes the recycling loop.
The first step is collection. This is when you put your recyclables into your blue recycling cart or take them to a drop-off site. The collected materials are then prepared for market and sold to a manufacturing facility.
Manufacturing is the second step in the recycling process. The recyclable materials are converted into new products and shipped to stores to be sold as new consumer goods.
The third step is where you, the consumer, purchase products made with recycled content. When you "Buy Recycled", you complete the recycling loop. Always check the % post consumer recycled content (% pcr) of the products you buy. A higher % pcr means more of the product was made from recyclables collected from residential or commercial recycling programs.
Examples of Recycled Content Products
A wide variety of products containing recycled materials are available. Some products, like those made from glass, steel, aluminum, and cardboard almost always contain recycled content. Many other products can be found that contain recycled materials if you look for them. The following table lists a few of the recycled-content products that can be found locally.
|Recyclable Materials||Recycled Content Products||Brand Name||Stores|
|Glass bottles and jars||Glass bottles and jars, glass bowls, vases, and candle stick holders||All brands||All stores, Home Environment|
|Steel (tin) cans||Any steel product||All brands||All stores|
|Aluminum cans||Aluminum cans||All brands||All stores|
|PET plastic||Carpet, fleece jackets, hats, and gloves||Kid Tough, Radical, Rockhill Manor, Patagonia||Menards, Home Depot, REI|
|HDPE plastic||Trash bags, plastic lumber||Renew, Seventh Generation||Pick 'n Save, Hy-Vee, Whole Foods, Menards, Home Depot|
|Newspaper||Cellulose insulation||All brands||Menards, Home Depot|
|Office paper||Office paper||Geocycle, Great White||Office Depot, Best Buy, Office Max, Staples, Wal-Mart|
|Mixed paper||Paper towels, napkins, bathroom tissue||Green Forest, Seventh Generation||Pick 'n Save, Hy-Vee, Whole Foods, Home Environment, Community Pharmacy|
|Corrugated Cardboard||Corrugated cardboard boxes, Cereal boxes||All brands||All stores|
Reusing materials is the best way to recycle. Donating reusable items can also save you money in several ways. The donations may be tax deductible, and you will not have to pay to have the items hauled away as refuse.
There are numerous thrift stores in the area which deal in items such as used books, music, videos, computer software, clothing, housewares, sporting goods, furniture, etc. These stores accept donations of these items from the public for reuse (nonprofits such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, and St. Vincent de Paul). There are also for-profit stores such as Half Price Books, Frugal Muse, and Play it Again Sports that will often buy your used items. Check your phone book for the store locations nearest you.
Reusable building supplies can be donated to St. Vincent de Paul’s Dig & Save Outlet or Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. These stores accept building supplies in usable condition such as: doors, lumber, hardware, electrical supplies and fixtures, plumbing supplies and fixtures, cabinets, and counter tops. If you have any questions about the acceptability of an item for donation please call the Dig & Save Outlet at 608-250-6370 or the ReStore at 608-661-2813.
FreeCycle is an e-mail network that connects individuals looking to get rid of items with individuals or charities that could benefit from these goods. Freecycle is the place to find a home for your unwanted (but still usable!) furniture, clothing, building materials, computers, and all those other things that clutter our basements and garages. The only rule is that all items must be free.