Post-Consumer Waste in the Office

There is an increasing amount of green office supplies available on the market and many of them are made out of ‘Postconsumer waste’. Binders, staplers and scissors can all be made out of material that is labelled as Postconsumer waste, but what is the difference between this and regular recycled material and how does it affect the environment?

Recycled material is usually material that is reused that was a bi product of the manufacturing process. If we look at paper that is used in an office, recycled paper is made up of the trimmings that are produced from cutting the paper, waste sheets or over runs during the manufacturing of paper. These sheets are returned to pulp and remade into paper. It has never been sold as a product.

Products made out of postconsumer waste are items made up from truly recycled items. We think of cans as ‘recycled’ but they are actually made up of postconsumer content. Anything that has had another ‘life’ and been bought and sold, then remade into something else has to be labelled postconsumer content to correctly describe what it is. If we use the example of paper again, paper made out of postconsumer content was paper once before and reconstituted after use to be useable again.

Some postconsumer content can also be items that are reclaimed such as paper binder rings, refilled cartridges and frames for white boards.

It is worth the effort of seeking out recycled and items made out of postconsumer content as they are great for the environment. The more we can remake what we already have, the less that is in landfill and the more raw material we have to remake into the things we need.

Office suppliers are realizing that there is a market for earth friendly office supplies and are providing more items that are good from the environment. We have to invest in recycled and postconsumer content supplies so that we can support the manufacturers that provide them and keep them expanding their range. We also have to put our old items into the recycling system so that there is more raw materials available.

Nearly every office supply has a green counterpart, our job is to find them and purchase them. We need to encourage everyone else to join us. The quality is excellent and the operation the same, so it’s time to take green values into the work place and make them become the mainstream.

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