Recycling as you shop

September 26, 2023

We may think we are done recycling when we toss something into a recycling bin. But we aren’t! Recycling is all about giving things a second chance. When we recycle, our old bottles become new bottles or fleece blankets. Old glass jars become new jars or insulation that keeps our homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Paper might become new printer paper or a cardboard box. Recycling only begins when we toss something into a bin!

Many of us are great at collecting recyclables. We separate plastic bottles, aluminum cans, paper, cardboard, and other items from the trash. We put them into the correct bin, either at the curb or roadside or at a drop-off center. But sometimes, we forget that we need to keep the recycling loop going. We are also consumers and need to be sure we buy products made from recycled materials when we shop.

The next time you are at the store, look for recycled-content items. First, check the description or label. Look for words like “made from post-consumer recycled content” or “made with recycled materials.” Second, know what is almost always recycled content, such as a gray or brown paperboard box, a cardboard box, a steel (“tin”) can, or an aluminum can. Third, continue recycling as you shop by selecting recycled-content products.

Once you start seeking recycled-content products, you will find many items: notebooks, folders, printer paper, backpacks, clothing, cell phone covers, napkins, toilet paper, and even kitty litter! By purchasing a notebook made with recycled paper or a new fleece jacket made from old plastic bottles, you are helping to keep our planet and its people healthier and improving the recycling economy.

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