Recycled materials have been reprocessed from their original form so they can be useful again. This serves a dual purpose: it helps to reduce waste and it conserves natural resources. In general, there are two types of recycled material: post-industrial and post-consumer.
Post-industrial comes from excess material used in manufacturing. This material is collected and used in a product other than that for which it was originally harvested. For example, wood products which are made from wood scraps that would otherwise be discarded, such as the Woody pen on our site, are post-industrial recycled materials. When a product is described as simply “recycled,” it is likely made from only post-industrial materials.
Post-consumer material comes from finished consumer products that are no longer used for their intended purpose, such as aluminum cans or the blue bins for paper that you (hopefully!) have in your office. Paper is one example of an everyday product where 100% post-consumer material products are available.
It is also important to distinguish between products that are made from recycled materials and products that are themselves recyclable, meaning their materials can be reprocessed once the product is no longer useful. Recyclable products are separated from the waste stream, often broken down into raw materials, and then sold to manufacturers for reuse. To find a recycling center near you or to learn what materials are accepted click here.