Recycling Your Clutter

Identifying Recycled-Content Products -

Product labels can be confusing to consumers interested in buying recycled because of the different recycling terminology used. The following definitions might help clarify any uncertainty regarding manufacturers' claims. For more detailed guidance, view a summary of the Federal Trade Commission's brochure Sorting Out Green Advertising Claims or their Official Guidance for the use of environmental marketing claims.

Buy Recycled –

Creating a strong market for recycled products is key to completing the recycling process or "closing the loop." Consumers close the loop when they purchase products made from recycled materials. Governments can promote buying recycled products through their own purchasing programs and guidelines. Manufacturers can participate as well by using recycled materials in their products.

Recycled-content products are made from materials that would otherwise have been discarded. Items in this category are made totally or partially from material destined for disposal or recovered from industrial activities-like aluminum soda cans or newspaper. Recycled-content products also can be items that are rebuilt or re-manufactured from used products such as toner cartridges or computers.

Post consumer - content refers to material from products that were used by consumers or businesses and would otherwise be discarded as waste. If a product is labeled "recycled content," the rest of the product material might have come from excess or damaged items generated during normal manufacturing processes-not collected through a local recycling program.


Recyclable products – can be collected and re-manufactured into new products after they've been used. These products do not necessarily contain recycled materials and only benefit the environment if people recycle them after use. Check with your local recycling program to determine which items are recyclable in your community.

Recycled Products Shopping List – There are more than 4,500 recycled-content products available, and more continues to grow. In fact, many of the products we regularly purchase contain recycled-content.


If you cannot think of what to do with a perfectly good item, talk to people around you, your friends, family and neighbors. Maybe they want what you don't.

That saying of one mans junk is another mans treasure applies here.

  • Don't throw it away, sell it online, make some extra money. Don't throw it away, donate your items to a school, charity or church.
  • Don't throw it away, look into social groups that knit, sew or do crafts for extra money, maybe they want the stuff that you don't.
  • What about nursing homes that need little odds and ends. Try to recycle everything you own. Wow, think of the open space we would have available with less garbage.