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Re-used and recyclable products
Buying products that have had a previous life, or have been made from parts which have been (or can be) recycled is a great way of reducing energy and water use and waste.
Increasing numbers of products are being manufactured which contain parts made from recycled content—materials that would have otherwise become waste. These products are becoming more readily available and more popular. There is also an increasing range of products made from recyclable materials which can be used again, for example, plastic and aluminium products.
Look out for:
- building products
- clothing and textiles
- garden and landscape products
- paper products.
- sporting and recreational goods.
Some household products and personal items are also now being made out of re-manufactured waste products. For example, doormats made from tyres, and jewellery made from antique glass, old typewriter keys, circuit boards and even skateboards.
Claims about the environmental benefits of products are often used to promote them. There are green marketing laws that regulate how companies in Australia should label their products when making claims about environmental benefits, including recycled content.
Labelling should be clear and not misleading. Products which are described as recyclable must be able to be recycled in Australia although not necessarily everywhere in Australia. This is because different councils and recycling facilities will have different abilities to recycle products.
Commercial products with recycled content will usually have the type and percentage of recycled materials written on the label.
Some of the common terms are described below.
This means the product is made from materials that would otherwise have become waste.
This means that material in the product has been used more than once and could possibly be used again and again.
This means that the product is made from material that can be recycled, for example, rigid plastics.
Products with re-manufactured material have new and re-used parts or materials. For example, old or damaged parts of a product may have been replaced so that the product can have a second life.
In products made from pre-consumer material, the recycled material is from the manufacturing process. This material was never used by consumers and would have otherwise become waste.
Post-consumer materials are waste products from homes or commercial and industrial processes. The material has been recycled instead of becoming waste.
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