Recycling pre- or post-consumer waste?

When we look at the environmental impact, using recycled polyester is much better than using virgin polyester. This is a big advantage, considering that there is no quality difference in the end result. But if we dig a little deeper, even within recycling, there are several options to choose from. Namely using pre-consumer waste or post-consumer waste as your resource.

Pre-consumer waste or post-consumer waste

First, let’s start by explaining the difference between pre-consumer waste and post-consumer waste.

– Pre-consumer waste is waste that’s collected after production, but before it reaches the end consumer. You can think of cutting losses during the production of your designer jeans or the wood scrap generated during furniture production.
– Post-consumer waste, on the other hand, is gathered after usage. Think of empty water (RPET) bottles or used clothing.

Using pre-consumer waste has several advantages. In most industries manufacturers prefer pre-consumer waste as it reduces their costs of buying new resources, it’s an easy process (cleaning up), they know exactly what the content consists of and of course, the environmental impact compared to producing virgin material often is good.

Using post-consumer waste is a more difficult process. In particular, the collection and separation of waste, which often comes with higher costs. However, the main difference is the impact on the environment. The chances of post-consumer waste ending up in landfill or oceans and polluting our planet is much greater. So, by using post-consumer waste, plastic bottles which are currently polluting the environment, are given a new life as a nice piece of sustainable furniture.

Greenwashing your business

Where pre-consumer waste is mostly a by-product of producing something with virgin material, making it a relatively easy step to take, some hardliners even state it’s a way of greenwashing your business.

We believe we need to embrace every step forward we can take in the recycling evolution. But when asked what’s more sustainable, using post-consumer waste is indeed one step ahead. As we are working towards a sustainable business model where we optimize the usage of our resources, prevent overproduction, and aim for a totally circular economy, post-consumer waste is the absolute winner.

Do you still have any questions about the variations? Or questions about something else? You can contact us by clicking on this link and we will get in touch!

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