This article looks into the benefits of buying recycled products. Recycling is an activity that is synonymous with sustainability. Many people think it is simply about doing the right thing, but there is more to it than that. Buying recycled products allows you to play a part in building a better world socially, economically and environmentally.


Business & Marketing Benefits

There are business and marketing benefits to be gained from buying recycled inputs when compared to their virgin counterparts.

If you are a company and you make products you need to meet the market’s expectations and deliver what consumers want.

There is a fantastic study by WRAP that captured my imagination and I will use it to demonstrate this point.

The title of the study is Recycled plastic packaging – the consumer’s view and I highly recommend that you seek out the original paper as it contains some powerful insights.

In answer to the question Should packaging contain recycled plastic? The results were very impressive with 86% of consumers feeling that it would be good if packaging contained recycled plastic. As you can see from the chart below, there is clearly an appetite for products that that come in packaging that contains recycled plastic.

WRAP Study on recycling

Companies spend a great deal of time trying to create and shape their brand. This is an area where the injection of sustainability can help.

In the WRAP study 74% of respondents felt that the reputation of a retailer or manufacturer would be enhanced if its products’ packaging were made from recycled plastic. As you can see from the chart below, this is an important finding and an opportunity that businesses shouldn’t be missing out on.

WRAP brand study on recycling

Companies reputations in the marketplace matter enormously. Having people think positively about your business and your products is an important step to winning new customers and retaining old ones.

When asked, 78% of respondents said they would feel more positive about a product or manufacturer whose packs were made of recycled plastic. This finding is important and should encourage more suppliers to look at recycled packaging.

As the chart below shows, using recycled packaging is an effective way to create a feel-good factor about your company and products in the marketplace.

WRAP positive affirmations study

Overall, all three charts demonstrate why smart businesses would try to look for ways of integrating recycled materials into their operations. When you find a situation where business and environmental interests come into alignment, that is an opportunity that you need to take advantage of.

Support Innovation

By investing in recycled products or in businesses that make use of recycled products you are helping to support innovation. This also sends a signal to the marketplace that they should invest more in these areas in the future, creating a virtuous cycle of sustainable growth.

Investing in recycled products means that more competition will come into this space. This new interest and competition will hopefully lead to innovations in design to make more packaging recyclable.

Extra demand for products that are made with recycled and recyclable components and packaging has further benefits. It will help to increase interest in this sector and hopefully lead to technical innovations that lower costs for recyclers and make the whole sector an attractive space for investors.

Overall, by focussing your procurement efforts, whether as a business or as a consumer on products that make use of recycled materials and are themselves recyclable, you can help to support this industry and support innovation to help drive progress forward.

Environmental Benefits

There are significant environmental benefits to buying recycled products. Recycled products tend to be less energy intensive and often have a lower environmental impact their virgin counterparts.

Buy buying recycled products, this avoids the need for oil to be drilled, ores to be mined forests to be logged and glass to be smelted.

With regards to paper, buying recycled uses 90% less water and 50% less energy than making it from raw materials.

This is my personal favourite statistic and is why it is important to emphasise that every can counts. Recycling one aluminium drinks can saves up to 95% of the energy needed to make it from scratch.

What is more, recycling 1 tin can saves enough energy to power a television for 3 hours. Whilst recycling 1 glass bottle saves enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes. Whereas recycling 1 plastic bottle saves enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours. These statistics make clear that there are many environmental benefits that come about because of the recycling process.

Overall, it is important to be aware of the disparity in environmental performance between products that use virgin materials and products that make use of recycled materials.

What you need to know

This article looked into the benefits of buying recycled products.

For business owners and managers, there are a lot of business benefits to making products with recycled materials.

For people interested in progress and innovation, buying products made of recycled materials allows you to support an industry and to help make it more significant.

Lastly, there are many environmental benefits that come about when you buy products made of recycled materials.

It is important to be aware of and act upon these factors when you are buying things as a consumer or as a business.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. What do you think are the benefits of buying recycled products?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby


  1. I like how you mentioned that by buying recycled products, you are playing a part in making the world better socially, economically, and environmentally. My sister has recently shown an interest in improving the environment and I would like to get her something for Christmas that can help her start. I will be sure to look into buying already recycled products from a reputable business to give to her.


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