Recycling Homepage
Recycling Procurement Program

How to Find Recycled Products

Origination Date: April 28, 1998
Revision Date: October 27, 1999

Recycled product alternatives are likely to exist for very common items that are made from paper, glass, or plastic. Office paper products, binders, and plastic desk accessories are examples of readily available recycled products. If you are looking for recycled products, your very first step should be to check with your regular supplier. If you are scouting for a new item, remember to try the yellow pages for local sources. A number of states, trade associations, and professional resources produce and market directories that list manufacturers of recycled products. Start with the EPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines web site, because it lists manufacturers for many common recycled products and it also lists other resources:

EPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines web site

The following steps show how you can proceed to write bid specifications for recycled products:

  1. Expect recycled alternatives to be available for standard, common commodities manufactured from paper, plastic, and glass. Be sure to ask for them from your regular vendors.

  2. With a specific item in mind, consult the federal web site or contact other sources.

  3. You will get a list of recycled product possibilities, including brief descriptions, recycled content, and manufacturers’ names and addresses. You will often need to ask the manufacturer for the local distributor or supplier.

  4. Use the list to understand market availability, level of competition, and reasonable recycled content. Standard specifications and recycled content recommendations are available for some commodities, such as paper.

  5. You will probably need to contact the listed vendors to find out how closely potential alternative products meet your needs and specifications.

  6. Remember that in most cases you will need to have a separate award category or a separate bid for recycled products, because they usually cost more than the non-recycled counterpart.

This system has worked well to provide the many recycled options available on Wisconsin statewide contracts.



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