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Complete the Circle

How Buying Recycled Can Save:

Natural resources:

By making products from recycled materials instead of raw materials, we reduce the need to cut down trees, drill for oil and dig for minerals.

Save energy:

It takes less energy to make recycled products. Making new aluminum from recycled aluminum, for example, takes 95% less energy to make than new aluminum from bauxite ore.

Save disposal space:

When the materials you recycle go into new products, they don't go into landfills or incinerators and Indiana's disposal space is conserved.

Save money & create jobs:

The recycling process creates far more jobs than landfills and incinerator businesses. And recycling reduces money spent for energy, air and water protection, and disposal costs.

How can you buy more recycled products?

Read labels:

Look for the words "recycled content" or a made from recycled materials" and buy those products. Ask the businesses where you shop for recycled content products. Encourage store managers to order more. You can call manufactures to express your preferences, too. In most cases, a package label will include the product-maker's toll free number for questions and comments.

Safe Bets:

The following five types of packaging can always be counted on to have a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content, even if they're not labeled as recycled:
  • Aluminum beverage cans: About 50% of the aluminum in beverage cans comes from used cans that were collected for recycling, melted and made into new cans.
  • Glass bottles and jars: Up to 25% of the glass in bottles and jars has been used at least once and remanufactured
  • "Tin" (steel) cans: So-called "tin" cans are actually made of steel, usually with a thin coating of tin. About 28% of the total content is recycled steel, half of that being post-consumer.
  • Molded pulp containers: Cardboard flower pots, fruit trays and egg cartons are made from recycled newspaper and cardboard that is re-pulped and re-shaped.
  • Corrugated boxes: Corrugated boxes are second next to aluminum cans when it comes to recycling. In 2007, 78% of the United States' corrugated cardboard boxes were recycled. These boxes are the world's leading shipping and merchandising material.

Shopping Ideas for Products and Packaging Made from Recycled Materials

Office & School Supplies:

Almost every kind of paper product is available with recycled content. Along with paper, consider these other recycled-content products: binders, calendars, computer disks, self-stick notes, staplers and more. With the increased demand for recycled products, many supply catalogs are making products that have recycled content. Look for this feature when you order materials. Join the Buy Recycled Business Alliance to learn more.


Many items you have in your home already contain recycled materials from large and small steel appliances and paper towels and cereal boxes. Recycled house ware items include plastic recycling bins and trash bags. Remodeling? Look for recycled glass counter tops tiles, carpet made from recycled plastic soda pop bottles and insulation made from newspaper. Remember to look for recycled content while you are shopping. You can even write home to Mom about your accomplishments on recycled stationery.


Did you know that every new car manufactured contains up to 75% recycled materials? In addition to the recycled content that goes into the vehicle itself, antifreeze, batteries, floor mats, motor oil and tires are available with recycled content.

Lawn & Garden:

For your lawn and garden needs, bird feeders, playground equipment, recycled plastic picnic tables and lawn furniture, recycled rubber mats, recycled rubber soaker and garden hoses, wood chips and steel lawn implements are just a few of the products available.

Parks & Recreation:

There are many products readily available for use in parks and for recreational purposes. these include bike racks, golf bags, planters, speed bumps, sandboxes, trash and recycling receptacles, playground equipment mulch and compost, tire turf and products made of durable recycled plastic lumber.

Holidays & Special Occasions:

Did you know a landfill's highest waste flow comes in December? During the holiday season, we buy and wrap gifts, go to parties with throw-away dinnerware, send greeting cards and decorate trees. Many of the products used are available with recycled content, including glass and paper ornaments, glass and metal candle holders, multi-material jewelry, and paper content products can be cost-efficient and fun. And your purchase means more because it helps sustain recycling.

Clothing & Accessories:

Pop bottles are remanufactured and spun into thread which can be used to make fabric. This fabric can be used for fleece clothing and winter jackets with insulating polyester fill made from recycled plastic. Bags and belts can be made from recycled rubber. Shoes can be made from recycled tires and plastics. Hats and T-shirts can be made from recycled cotton and other fibers. You can fill your closet with these contemporary recycled content products.

What Can I Recycle?

Automotive Wastes
Hazardous Waste
Medical Waste
Yard Waste