Close the loop by purchasing recycled products

Filed in Reduce by on December 31, 2009 6 Comments
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buy recycled products to close the loopIt’s great that you want to recycle more, but we all have to close the loop by demanding recycled products. There is little point recycling all your newspapers if you then purchase virgin paper for your home! The recycling symbol is something to bear in mind at all times – it’s a circle, and you need to help close the loop of that circle to complete the cycle.

Waste online put it succinctly: “The future of recycling ultimately depends on there being a market for the materials collected. Recycling is not just collecting materials and taking them to the recycling bank, it is about “closing the loop” and buying recycled too. Paper mills cannot continue to produce recycled paper if people do not buy items made from it.”

I have to admit, it took me a happy year of recycling and feeling very virtuous about my landfill saving attempts to realise I was only helping with part of the bigger picture. I needed to BUY recycled products back to keep the wheel turning.

Purchasing recycled products creates markets for materials recovered through recycling. Completing this loop leads to sustainability and conserves resources and energy. Creating demand ensures recycling continues and the loop is complete!

Now we buy recycled toilet paper, kitchen roll and printer paper. I’ve bought a couple of recycled items of clothing; fleeces made from old plastic bottles and we recently won a pair of recycled flip flops for Little miss Green which are fantastic quality; much better than the £2 crappy pair you buy every summer.

The range of recycled products available is growing all the time. Everything from garden benches, garden decking, home insulation to pet bedding is available as a recycled option. Check out the Recycled products guide for information and inspiration.

What is your favourite recycled product?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (6)

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  1. *start rant* I agree that we need to buy more products made from recycled materials and I do buy quite a lot of paper items that have been recycled (notebooks, toilet roll, printer paper etc.) but trying to find anything made from recycled plastic is like pulling teeth! A few months ago I wanted some small bins to put upstairs to separate out the different items of recycling and I looked in both of my local supermarkets as well as online and couldn’t find anything suitable. In desperation I wrote to Tesco expressing my wish for more end items to be made of recycled materials and simply got a stock letter back about listening to customers wishes. I was really frustrated that we’re doing our best to recycle while constantly being told that bundles of useful materials are sitting idle in warehouses and we’re wasting our time – if companies actually sold products that were made from recycled materials then these bundles of recyclables would be worth real money and it would give us a carrot and stick effect to encourage more councils and companies to recycle. *rant over*

  2. Ailbhe says:

    Remember to check you’re getting post-consumer recycled stuff and not just recycled-from-factory-scraps recycled stuff, too!

  3. Ashley says:

    Great Post! I do like seeing that products that contain post consumer recycled materials. I usually don’t notice this until I bring the purchase home. I will start paying closer attention to the products in the store and make a better selection at that time.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @Kira Withers-Jones: Hi Kira, interesting rant – thanks so much for sharing your frustrations here. Now where have I seen recycled bins; I’m sure I’ve seen them online. How annoying for you to get a stock letter too. I find that after the ‘canned’ response I then write back and get a more detailed one ;)

    @Ailbhe: Yes, that’s a vital piece of the puzzle which consumers should be more aware of – thanks Ailbhe for reminding us :)

    @Ashley: Hi Ashley; good to see you. Perhaps I need to write a post on that lovely symbol with the % inside it to raise awareness …

  5. Jane says:

    I too have been irritated by Tesco – for not being able to find large packs of recycled loo paper in their large store near us. I like the packs of 12 in a plastic bag with a handle as I can then reuse the plastic bag and then recycle it. I can’t understand why such a large store doesn’t sell this and I know I should be doing something about making my views known to them. New Year here I come!

  6. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Good luck, Jane. Like you, we plan to become more ‘vocal’ during 2010 :) Be sure to update us with your progress.

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