Pre-Consumer vs Post-Consumer Waste: What’s the Difference???

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We had a Shoplet debate the other day about the difference between Post and Pre Consumer Recycled Content. We thought we might as well  group all of our products that contain any recycled content all together. Then the question came up, well what’s the difference? Does it matter which they used?

Here’s our most intelligible answer:

Waste, either a material or a product that can be divided into two categories:

Pre-consumer waste and Post-consumer waste.

Pre-consumer waste is a material that was discarded before it was ready for consumer use. Pre-consumer waste is the reintroduction of manufacturing scrap (such as trimmings from paper production, defective aluminum cans, etc.) back into the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer waste is commonly used in manufacturing industries, and is often not considered recycling in the traditional sense.

Post-consumer waste is material discarded after someone uses it. Post-consumer waste has served its intended purpose, passed through the hands of a final consumer, and has been discarded for disposal or recovery. Quite commonly, it is simply the garbage that individuals routinely discard, either in the trash can or a dump, or by littering, incinerating, or pouring down the drain. In the case of paper, pre-consumer waste would be that which was printed but never used. Such as newspapers that were never bought by a consumer. Post-consumer waste in this example would be the newspaper that was bought and read and then discarded.

So there you have it. Do you know more on this subject? We’d love to hear about it! Comment below!

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  • admin

    I assume it’s because you are actually reusing waste which saves our landfills and makes good use of excess materials. Pre-consumer waste doesn’t seem as difficult to reuse. (This is my very simple point of view)

  • Great definition, but I wonder why there is such a greater emphasis on Post-Consumer waste than pre-consumer.
    It seems as though one is more important than the other.
    Any thoughts on that?

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