Pre-Consumer v. Post-Consumer Content
Post-consumer implies materials or finished products that have been diverted or recovered from the waste stream. These materials have been used and/or recycled as much as possible, and have completed their life as a consumer item. Post-consumer content is usually generated by households, commercial, industrial and/or institutional facilities. It includes products that can no longer be used or repurposed. These materials are then broken down and processed into different products.
Pre-consumer content is waste produced in the manufacturing process, such as manufacturing scrap, trimmings and cuttings, and is discarded before it is ready for consumer use. Pre-consumer waste can be reintroduced back into the manufacturing process, has been commonly used by industries for many years, and does not actually count as recycled material. In some cases, pre-consumer material can be recycled, however, there is usually a financial incentive for the manufacturer.
It is generally considered better for the environment to purchase items made with post-consumer materials than purchasing items made with pre-consumer materials. Buying products made with post-consumer content directly diverts the materials from heading to a landfill, whereas pre-consumer content may still have some useful life, or it can be recycled.