What Is Recycled Material?
Recycling is an economic and environmental solution that reduces the amount of raw materials needed for production, saves energy and greenhouse gases, prevents pollution, protects the environment and increases the life expectancy of products. It also helps to reduce the cost of manufacturing new products and conserves land, water and resources.
Recycled material, or “feedstock,” is the basic building block of a wide range of recycled products. It includes items such as glass, metal, plastic, textiles and organic waste.
During recycling, a variety of materials are melted together to make something new. This process takes energy to melt the materials, but the energy savings over a lifetime of use are often significant.
In addition, recycled materials are often less expensive than their virgin counterparts because they can be processed at lower costs. This is especially true for metals, which can be used in a variety of ways and require much less energy than making them from scratch.
For example, making a steel can from scrap aluminum requires 95% less energy than producing it from new raw aluminum. Using a recycled steel can also cuts back on mining and transport costs by up to ninety-seven percent.
Another big benefit of recycling is that it helps to eliminate deforestation. One ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, and 4,000 kilowatts of energy. It also cuts back on emissions and the need for prime real estate in landfills for waste that is not recyclable.
Recyclables are sent to a recovery facility where they are sorted, cleaned and then processed into different types of materials that can be used in manufacturing. These can include cardboard, paper, tin, glass, plastic and textiles.
These can be bought and sold just like raw materials. Prices vary depending on the demand for these materials and how much supply is available.
Some companies, such as Consumer Reports (CR), have established strategic partnerships with suppliers that enable them to guarantee competitive prices on recycled products for a certain number of years. These partnerships help to ensure that recycled products will continue to be competitive and can provide an added revenue stream.
CR has also helped to establish the Buy Recycled Business Alliance, which is a group of 33 business organizations that have committed to buying recycled-content products and raw feedstock for internal use in their businesses. They have accounted for more than $3 billion in purchases from recycled-content raw materials and products over the past year.
The Buy Recycled Business Alliance focuses on creating demand for recycled-content raw materials, such as paper, bottles and cans. It has a long list of participating members that include Bank of America, American Airlines, Bell Atlantic and Coca-Cola.
To maximize the value of these partnerships, the business and government organizations need to work together to develop a sustainable system that combines the needs of each party. The goal is to build a market for recycled materials that can help to solve societal problems such as climate change and pollution. The key is a coordinated business-government program that creates a demand for recycled-content goods while also ensuring that the supply of these materials can be managed effectively.