Why is Post-Consumer Waste Important?

importance of post consumer waste

Table of Contents

If you look closely at some bags, cartons, or paper stock, you may find a little graphic or statement indicating the recycled content, occasionally stated as a fraction of post-consumer materials. 

The term “post-consumer” refers to garbage or waste “that has been used by a consumer, discarded, and removed from landfills.” This is frequently used in materials like paper or plastic bottles. 

Although pre-consumer waste is distinct, you may encounter this label on a product. This is waste that has never been distributed to the general public. This might be scrapped, such as factory paper clippings or damaged metal cans, repurposed to make new items. Although this is not a recycled product in the classic sense, it improves the environment, according to experts.

What Exactly Is Post-Consumer Waste?

Post-consumer waste is defined as material that has served its original purpose as a consumer item and has been segregated from other materials that must be disposed of. After completing its life cycle as a consumer item, post-consumer waste can now be recycled and repurposed. Post-consumer waste differs from pre-consumer or post-industrial waste because it comes from a different source.

Post-consumer waste is generated in modest volumes from various sources, including residential settings where consumable things are discarded. The opposite is pre-consumer or post-industrial scrap, which is produced in enormous quantities in a small number of sites. Post-consumer waste is critical for recycling since it saves many materials from being disposed of in a landfill, yet it isn’t easy to sort and collect. 

Many public places now also have separate recycling containers for post-consumer waste, such as coffee cups, tin drinks and paper straws.

post consumer waste

Benefits of Post-Consumer Waste 

Using post-consumer plastic waste can also assist in solving one major issue: environmental microplastics. Microplastics are tiny, artificial bits of plastic that are derived from plastic trash that has been discharged into the environment. These microscopic particles are flooding oceans, seas, and streams, infiltrating the species that reside there. Microplastics have also been found in the environment, both inside and outdoors, and in our food chain.

Recycling our plastic waste instead of discarding it can significantly impact reducing the number of microplastics in the environment. 

We must substantially increase our recycling behaviours at home, school, and work. In the US, the government has set a goal of recycling 65% of municipal garbage by 2035, but we have a long way to go – the US recycling rate is now about 45%. We must remember that recycling is critical to our planet’s future health. 

On the most fundamental level:

  • Recycling paper and wood helps to preserve trees and forests. Yes, new trees may be planted, but they cannot restore pristine rainforests or old woods that have been destroyed.
  • Recycling plastic involves producing less new plastic, which is a positive given that it is often derived from fossil fuel hydrocarbons.
  • Metal recycling eliminates the need for dangerous, costly, and environmentally destructive mining and extraction of new metal ores.
  • Recycling glass decreases the demand for new raw materials such as sand – it may seem hard to believe, but supplies of certain types of sand are running short throughout the world.

post consumer waste recycling

Main Differences Between Post-Industrial and Post-Consumer Plastic Recycling

1. Post-consumer plastic is a mix of various plastics that must be separated before recycling; however, when recycling post-industrial plastics, companies benefit from the fact that the incoming waste type is recognized and controllable.

2. Even post-consumer plastics separated into consistent classifications may vary in plastic composition due to the varying proportions utilised by various plastics product manufacturers.

3. Post-consumer plastics must be cleaned using a washing line, and the moisture content must be kept below a particular level for the output pellets to be utilised to manufacture new goods of acceptable quality.

Post-consumer Recycling

Post-consumer recycled materials (PCR) are polymers reprocessed from home or commercial waste. Post-consumer plastic goods shut the loop by removing waste from landfills and enabling it to be repurposed into something else. Unfortunately, recycling post-consumer plastic is challenging. 

There are both financial and physical problems which include collection, cleaning, classifying, reprocessing, and distribution, colour and grade irregularity, contamination. After the garbage is recovered, the plastic pellets are produced into various recycled goods based on their physical features.

importance of post consumer waste

Why is post-consumer waste better than post-industrial waste?

Because manufacturers have long been interested in recycling and repurposing scrap materials in various ways, post-consumer waste is preferred because it is less likely to wind up in a landfill than pre-consumer waste. Some argue that pre-consumer recycled stuff isn’t genuinely recycled because the trash involved isn’t even rubbish. The environmental risks are higher with post-consumer waste since it is more likely to wind up cluttering a landfill if not properly recycled.

Both pre-and post-consumer recycled content items are superior to zero-recycled content products, but post-consumer recycled is the way to go if you want to be green.

This is what CY Group’s long term goal is. As a plastic recycling company, we aspire to. We are actively pursuing a pollution-free earth strategy in order to convert plastic trash into reusable plastic items for future generations. 

Final Thoughts

Our core focus is the Environment First principle, which we live and operate by. There are various aspects to consider when recycling post-industrial or post-consumer plastic. Fortunately, CY Group has a wealth of expertise in handling ldpe plastic recycling too.

CY Group is also a proud member of Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), representing the plastics recycling industry in North America. Our continued efforts, no matter how modest or huge, will motivate businesses and individuals to take action to protect Mother Nature from pollution.