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       University at Buffalo > Recycling > ReThinking Your Waste > Closing the Loop

The Three R's

Close the Loop

The universal logo for recycling is unmistakable, no matter what form it is presented it. That's because it always appears as some sort of a closed loop. This is no coincidence. Following the "Three R's" will only get us so far in this system; we need to be sure to close the loop and create a market place for everything that actually gets recycled. The only way we can do this is by being sure to always purchase products made of recycled materials.

Here are some key terms (courtesy of the EPA) to look for when purchasing recycled:

Recycled-content products...

...made from materials that would have otherwise been discarded. Items in this category are made totally or partially from materials destined for disposal or recovered from industrial activities--like aluminum soda cans or newspaper. Recycled-content products also can be items that are rebuilt or remanufactured from used products such as toner ink cartridges or computers.

Postconsumer content...

...refers to material from products that were used by consumers or businesses and would otherwise be discarded as waste. If a product is labeled "recycled content", the rest of the product material might have come from excess or damaged items generated during normal manufacturing processes--not collected through a local recycling program.

Recyclable products...

...can be collected and remanufactured into new products after they've been used. These products do not necessarily contain recycled materials and only benefit the environment if people recycle them after use.



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