By: By Michelle D. Alderson
What is it?
You've most likely heard of the common green jargon: energy-efficient, recycled material, reusable -- the list continues. However, the term post-consumer content might be new to you. You may even be using products that are made with post-consumer content already and you just don't know it. Earth911.org (http://www.earth911.org) defines post-consumer content as "a material that has served its intended use and instead of being disposed of it is being reused in a different product. If a product is labeled 'recycled content,' the material might have come from excess or damaged items generated during normal manufacturing processes-not collected through a local recycling program." Simply put, products made with post-consumer content are items you can buy that have been made with recycled material.
Why is it important to buy it?
Probably the most common post-consumer content product you will find is paper goods: toilet paper, paper towels, envelopes, napkins, etc (http://www.nrdc.org/land/forests/gtissue.asp). The following are just a few examples of other products that can be made with post-consumer content: paint, carpet, mulch, bathroom and office partitions, office furniture, printing ink, corrugated cardboard boxes, cleaners, and hardwood floors. You might ask why it is necessary to buy these products when regular toilet paper seems quite fine. It is important to know that recycling doesn't just end when you put a can in a blue bin. It truly is cyclical. Buying post-consumer content products keeps the country's growing recycling programs afloat. If consumers don't buy products made with recycled materials, companies won't waste their time making them. In essence, buying such products keeps the landfills lean, the recycling business running, and inevitably helps the environment.
How much will it cost?
In today's economy, some consumers might fret over purchasing post-consumer content products because of cost. Is it better to help keep the environment green or keep that green in your pocket? If you are buying a post-consumer content product like used office furniture, you will see a significant discount, but new post-consumer content products can cost a little more. According to greenguardian.org (http://www.greenguardian.org), some products, such as post-consumer content recycled paper can cost about 10 percent to 20 percent more than regular paper. The good news is that as the demand for post-consumer content products grows, the price for such goods continues to drop. In addition, supplier competition often can create bargains for the consumer. The key is to search for the best price.