'RECYCLABLE' … What does this mean?
Answer: Whether or not any specific product, package, container or material can be considered ‘recyclable’ is ultimately determined by the recycling agency serving your local community.
The term ‘recyclable’ indicates that a product or material can indeed be recycled. On the other hand, the term ‘recycled’ is an identification applied to a product that incorporates previously used and recovered material.
Recyclable, identifies a product or material that can in fact be recovered and reused. In theory, most materials can be recaptured, broken down and reused. The ease with which this recovery can be accomplished is dependent on both technical and practical issues, and they both ultimately relate to a common problem of economic costs.
From a technical point-of-view, a product is recyclable if the industrial processes exist to receive quantities of a particular waste product and reuse the quantities into reusable raw materials. Thus, the technical issues relate to mechanical and chemical processes in a manufacturing setting.
'RECYCLED'… What does this mean?
Answer: Manufactured consumer products are considered to be recycled if they are made from materials that otherwise would have been discarded as waste, and which have been broken down physically and/or chemically into basic raw materials which are then reused for a new product. The new product may be similar to the original product. However, merely taking an original product, cleaning it, painting it, and adding a new label does not meet the legal definition of 'recycled'- which requires a process of breaking down the original product.
Waste material is identified as 'post-industrial' or 'pre-consumer' if it was generated in the manufacturing process and was intended to be discarded. Waste is identified as 'post-consumer' if it is generated by products that have been sold to, used by, and then discarded by, consumers. Recycling both forms of waste conserves resources. Recycling manufacturers' wastes is primarily an issue of cost while recycling consumer waste is equally an issue of education of consumers, and availability of an economically viable collection network.