What to know about Recycled Content Declarations
As the world becomes increasingly concerned about the environment, sustainable building practices are becoming more important. One key aspect of sustainable building is the use of recycled content in building materials. Recycled content declarations play a crucial role in verifying that building products are made from recycled materials.
In this blog post, we will explore why recycled content declarations are important to building product manufacturers, and which state and federal green building codes use them.
Recycled Content Declarations: Why They Matter
They provide an accurate assessment of the amount of recycled content used in a building product. This information is important for several reasons:
Meeting Green Building Standards: Many green building standards require products to have a certain amount of recycled content. For example, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system gives points for using materials with recycled content.
Consumer Awareness: Consumers are increasingly interested in sustainability and want to know the environmental impact of the products they purchase. By providing accurate recycled content information, building product manufacturers can help consumers make informed decisions.
Marketing Advantage: Building product manufacturers use recycled content declarations as a marketing tool to differentiate their products from competitors.
Types of recycled content
Building product manufacturers have access to several types of recycled content used in the production of sustainable building materials. Here are some of the most common:
Post-consumer: Post-consumer recycled content is used material that’s recovered from the waste stream. Examples of post-consumer recycled content include recycled plastic bottles, recycled glass, and recycled aluminum cans.
Pre-consumer: Pre-consumer is material diverted from the waste stream during the manufacturing process. Examples of pre-consumer recycled content include manufacturing waste such as scrap materials, off-cuts, and trimmings.
Industrial waste and by-products: Building product manufacturers may also use industrial waste and by-products from other manufacturing processes as a source of recycled content. Examples include fly ash from coal-fired power plants, slag from iron and steel production, and sawdust from lumber mills.
Salvaged and reclaimed materials: Salvaged and reclaimed materials are materials that are recovered from demolition or renovation projects and repurposed for use in new construction. Examples include salvaged wood flooring, reclaimed brick, and repurposed steel beams.
Biodegradable and compostable materials: Biodegradable and compostable materials can also be considered a type of recycled content, as they are made from renewable resources and can be broken down naturally after use. Examples include biodegradable plastics made from cornstarch and compostable packaging materials made from plant fibers.
State and Federal Green Building Codes
Several state and federal green building codes use recycled content declarations. Here are a few examples:
LEED: As mentioned earlier, the LEED green building rating system gives points for using materials with recycled content. To earn these points, manufacturers must provide a declaration. To ensure that the product meets the requirements of the LEED Materials and Resources Credit 4: Recycled Content.
California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen): CALGreen is a state-wide green building code that requires the use of recycled content in certain building materials. Building product manufacturers must provide a declaration that meets the requirements of Section 18.104.22.168.
International Green Construction Code (IgCC): The IgCC is a model code developed by the International Code Council (ICC) that provides minimum requirements for green buildings. The IgCC requires building product manufacturers to provide a recycled content declaration that meets the requirements of .
What’s required on a declaration
To create a declaration for a building product, the following content is typically required:
Description of the product: Identify the product being described. Including its name, manufacturer, and any relevant model or part numbers.
Definition of recycled content: Define what constitutes recycled content for the specific product. Generally, recycled content is considered to be material that has been diverted from the waste stream and processed for use in a new product.
Recycled content percentage: State the percentage of recycled content in the product. Calculated based on the weight of the product, including packaging and any other components.
Post-consumer recycled content: Specify the percentage of post-consumer recycled content in the product. Post-consumer is material that has been used and then recovered from the waste stream.
Pre-consumer recycled content: Specify the percentage of pre-consumer recycled content in the product. Pre-consumer recycled content is material that has been diverted from the waste stream during the manufacturing process.
Calculation methodology: Describe the methodology used to calculate the recycled content percentage. Including any assumptions made and any third-party certifications or verifications.
Limitations: Disclose any limitations or exclusions related to the recycled content calculation. Such as the exclusion of certain product components or packaging materials.
Will a Declaration Expire
No, a recycled content declaration is created using ISO type II, also known as a self-declared environmental claim, does not have an expiration date. However, it is important to note that the accuracy of the claim can become outdated if there are changes to the product or manufacturing process that affect the recycled content percentage. Therefore, building product manufacturers should periodically review and update their recycled content declarations.
ISO type II environmental claims, including recycled content declarations, are based on self-declaration by the manufacturer and do not require third-party verification. While this can make the process of creating a recycled content declaration simpler and more cost-effective. It also means that the accuracy of the claim is ultimately the responsibility of the manufacturer. To ensure the integrity of the claim, manufacturers are required to follow best practices for calculating and verifying recycled content. Such as using standardized methods and obtaining third-party certifications where appropriate.
It is also worth noting that some green building certification programs, such as LEED, require third-party verification in order to earn points. In these cases, manufacturers will need to provide additional documentation and information to support their recycled content claims.
By incorporating recycled content into their building products, manufacturers can reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and reduce their environmental impact. However, it is important to note that not all recycled content is created equal, and the sustainability of a product or process depends on many factors beyond the use of recycled content alone. Therefore, it is important for manufacturers to use reliable and standardized methods for calculating and verifying recycled content and to consider the full lifecycle impacts of their products.