Recycling waste is a great way to do your part in protecting the environment, but it is equally as important to buy recycled. As stated on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, www.epa.gov, “by buying recycled, governments, as well as businesses and individual consumers, each play an important role in making the recycling process a success.” The following are a few tips on closing the recycling loop by reusing or “buying recycled:”
- Look for products to purchase that have recycled content. You can find these products in the store by paying attention to packaging or when you read the description of the products you order online. California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has a recycled-content product directory to assist you in your commitment to buy recycled. Check it out at www.calrecycle.ca.gov.
- When buying clothing, furniture, or electronics, consider purchasing used items. Many of these products can be found in great condition at garage sales, in the classifieds, at the local second-hand store, or online at such sites as www.craigslist.com, www.ebay.com or www.calmax.org.
- Select products that are reusable or refillable. For example, buy a reusable, insulated lunch bag or a refillable travel mug since they are both convenient and durable. To help eliminate waste, find everyday items with longevity, such as refillable, mechanical pencils instead of the pencils that require sharpening.
- Consider adopting a “Sustainable Purchasing Program” at work. Many office products and supplies can be purchased with recycled content at very affordable rates. Office supply stores such as Office Depot, Office Max, and Staples among others, have green buying programs. These programs help customers select reusable, refillable, and recycled content products like paper, pens, binders, file systems, and so much more.
The City of Santa Clarita has committed to sustainability by adopting an “Environmentally Preferred Purchasing Program Policy”. Since August 2005, the City has focused efforts on buying and using products with recycled content at various facilities. The following are examples of the ways the City has used sustainability principles in everyday work:
- Recycled tires are used in the playground cover and recycled plastics in the benches and tables at various City parks. The City’s vehicle fleet uses re-refined oil as much as possible.
- During a reconfiguration of office space at City Hall, many cubicles, furniture, and some of the hardware was re-used from other areas in the building rather than purchased.
- More than 50 percent of all office supplies purchased by the City each year have recycled content and the City purchases about 760 cases of recycled content copier paper on an annual basis.
By implementing a few of these tips, you can save money and help sustain the environment by improving markets for recycled products, reducing manufacturing waste and pollution, reducing energy consumption, and diverting waste from limited landfill space.