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Thursday, January 16, 2014

What exactly is the difference

What exactly is the difference

According to Annenberg Media, the United States generates approximately 230 million tons of solid waste every year. That translates to approximately 4.6 pounds per person, per day.

This waste, either a material or a product, can be divided into two categories: preconsumer waste and postconsumer waste. Preconsumer waste is a material that was discarded before it was ready for consumer use. Postconsumer waste is material discarded after someone uses it.

Postconsumer 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. Preconsumer waste is the reintroduction of manufacturing scrap such as trimmings from paper production, defective aluminum cans, etc. back into the manufacturing process. Preconsumer waste is commonly used in manufacturing industries, and is often not considered recycling in the traditional sense.

In the case of paper, preconsumer waste would be that which was printed but never used. Such as newspapers that were never bought by a consumer. Postconsumer waste in this example would be the newspaper that was bought and read and then discarded.

Another example is textiles. Preconsumer waste textiles consist of byproduct materials from the textile, fiber and cotton industries. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, each year 750,000 tons of this waste is recycled into new raw materials for the automotive, furniture, mattress, coarse yarn, home furnishings, paper and other industries. Through the efforts of this industry approximately 75 per cent of the preconsumer textile waste that is generated is diverted from landfills and instead recycled. Postconsumer textile waste consists of any type of garments or household article, made of some manufactured textile that the owner no longer needs and decides to throw away. These articles are discarded either because they are worn out, damaged, outgrown, or out of style. They are sometimes given to charities or sold second hand, but more typically are disposed of into the trash and end up in municipal landfills.

While most recyclable materials that are sold come from postconsumer waste, both preconsumer waste and postconsumer waste play equally invaluable roles in conserving natural resources and decreasing mans impact on the environment..

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