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Do recycled content or environmentally preferable products cost more?

Overall, cost differences will depend on the product, its quality and the existing market conditions. There are environmentally preferable products that cost less than their conventional counterparts. For example, several recycled printing papers cost less than virgin papers. Recycled plastic trash can liners (for commercial use) cost less than virgin because the postconsumer plastic resin currently has a lower market price than virgin plastic resin. The price of re-refined motor oil is now comparable to virgin motor oil.

How do I get started purchasing more of these products?

“Green” purchasing is no different from any other form of product evaluation usually done before a purchase is made, be it by governments, businesses or consumers. Environmental purchasing simply considers a greater range of product criteria. Departments may begin an environmental purchasing program by focusing initially on certain types of products or services and expanding to others as they gain experience.

When looking for recycled content products, what do the terms “postconsumer,” “pre-consumer” and “total recycled content” mean?

Recycled products may contain either a percentage of materials collected from office/curbside recycling programs (postconsumer), a percentage of materials generated after the manufacture of a product but before it reaches the end-user (pre-consumer) and/or virgin materials. The combination of postconsumer and pre-consumer content provides the total recycled content. For example, recycled content copy paper with 30% postconsumer and 10% pre-consumer content would have 40% total recycled content. 

At VF Outdoor, Sustainable Landscaping Is a Good Fit

The office campus of VF Outdoor in Alameda features a sustainable landscape design that reflects the company's global environmental goals. The landscape includes a water-conserving and climate-responsive plant palette suited to the environmentally sensitive coastal setting, an edible garden that provides healthy food to the campus cafeteria, and a variety of outdoor spaces for meetings, relaxation and recreation.

VF Outdoor, Inc.

VF Outdoor, a division of VF Corp. that focuses on outdoor and athletic apparel, recently moved three of its leading brands, JanSport, lucy and The North Face, to a new headquarters in Alameda.  While moving more than 470 employees, the company avoided using an estimated 11,000 cardboard boxes needed for the move by renting reusable moving crates instead. Comparable in cost to traditional cardboard moving boxes, this solution also required significantly less labor. This commitment to reducing waste is also part of the ongoing operations at the Alameda campus.

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