Challenge 6 - Buy Recycled


Buy Recycled

Buying recycled products is another way to reduce waste. Recycled materials don’t use as many raw materials and natural resources. They also use less water and save energy. Recycled products also help keep the green recycling economy thriving.

Recycled content is used for many products:

  • office or school supplies (paper, pens and printing cartridges)
  • home supplies (paint, storage bins and garbage bags)
  • clothing or reusable bags made with plastic fibres

Choosing paper made from 100% recycled paper instead of trees uses 50% less water and energy - and it saves trees!


  • If you’re buying new products, choose something that is made of recycled materials. Aim for 100% post-consumer recycled content.
  • Share a photo or tell us about it

Take the extra step:
Write to a company that you buy from and ask them to include more recycled content in their products.

Did you take this challenge?

  • Justin Conley
    Took Challenge 2014-07-09 12:39:17 -0400
    In addition to having 100% post-consumer recycled journals, I also like using fountain pen where I can use an actual ink-well. In fact, I have been using the exact same pens for years. If you have a pen which is comfortable to write with you can find cartridges – even with ballpoints! If a ballpoint pen does not offer a refillable cartridge then it is not worth buying!
  • Stephanie Savoie
    Took Challenge 2014-07-08 21:48:19 -0400
    Whenever making a purchase I always look for options that are made of recycled materials. I regularly buy paper, toilet paper made from 100% post-consumer recycled content. I also had considered buying toothbrushes that were made from recycled yogurts cups but instead opted for a bamboo model that can be composted at the end of its life.
  • Grant Lowe
    Took Challenge 2014-07-08 16:09:07 -0400
    I have purchased recycled pens, socks
  • Derek Wenderson
    Took Challenge 2014-07-06 11:40:23 -0400
  • catherine sutherland
    Took Challenge 2014-07-06 09:35:25 -0400

    I saw a CBC TV program (fifth estate?) that showed how many ‘green’ symbols and claims on toilet paper just aren’t true. They can say ‘green’, but it has to say ‘recycled fibre’ on the package to be real.

    I buy BioLife tissues from Shoppers Drugmart that say 100% recycled fibres. I wish I had a camera and could use it! to show you the BioLife tissue box. I wrote to the manager of my local No Frills to ask him to get recycled-fibres toilet paper, when he stopped carrying President’s Choice green recycled t.p. I use recycled fibre shopping bags.

    I avoid paper towels the great majority of the time. I use sponges and rinse them out.

    Next time a buy printer paper I’ll look for recycled post-consumer fibre.
  • Ria Bilous
    Took Challenge 2014-07-01 13:57:52 -0400
    I like to try to use less paper when possible. I tend to use washable rags instead of paper towel and I would really like to try this:

  • Deborah Livingston-Lowe
    Took Challenge 2014-06-21 09:53:37 -0400
    I buy products that come from recycled materials wherever possible.
  • Celia Zhang
    Took Challenge via 2014-06-02 12:25:15 -0400
  • David Simmons
    Took Challenge 2014-05-29 23:31:50 -0400
    I always purchase recycles paper towels and toilet tissues.
  • John Cowan
    Took Challenge 2014-05-28 07:24:13 -0400
    I tried using refilled printer cartridges and ended up with printer problems that went away when I used OEM stuff (at much higher price). However I return spent cartridges to the store.
  • Amanda Johnson
    Took Challenge 2014-05-26 14:12:00 -0400
    My house buys recycled paper towels and toilet paper.
  • Dawn Lyons
    Took Challenge 2014-05-24 20:43:58 -0400
    Heh! All our stuff is used, I am reminded of the Guindon cartoon, scruffy middle-aged couple in shabby room wondering, “Was any of our stuff ever new?” We even have recycled cats, all strays, unwanteds, or from shelters (see photo).

    But Barbara has an excellent point, just b/c it says ‘sustainable’ doesn’t mean it is, let alone recycled. I will be more critical of labels from now on. We used to buy recycled paper products, TP, paper towel, etc, but moved to reusable cloth, but I think I need to be more critical WRT printing and writing paper (thanks Barbara H).

    Paint. That’s interesting, I am coming up to some painting soon and will have to explore the alternatives. Milk paint looks pretty good. http://www.milkpaint.com/ Will continue to research b4 painting and report back. Got some toasty warm polar fleeces a while back from Mountain Equip Coop, made from old pop bottles, so they say. Comforter is goose down, not recycled, but at least renewable, so long as there are geese. Ahem.

    Re: Extra step: Write to a company that you buy from and ask them to include more recycled content in their products. OK, got three companies in mind, will have to find out what the are already doing (so I don’t look like a donut), then let the letters fly! Also, I think that it is useful to approach the retailer. I mean, you ask to talk to your local (say) No Frills manager, it would have more clout than sending a letter to Loblaws head office, IMO.

    OK, so here are a couple of our recycled kittehs. That’s Cutie-baby on the left and HRH the Princess Julia on the right.
  • Barbara Hickling
    Took Challenge 2014-05-24 17:48:16 -0400
    I’m always careful reading the label on paper products to make sure it’s 100% recycled content and not just ‘sustainable’. There are so many ‘green’ looking logos on non-100%-recycled paper goods. Sometimes it costs more, but you have to put your money where your mouth is and not just talk the talk.
  • Cirlene Pessoa
    Took Challenge 2014-05-23 18:20:42 -0400
    I wrote to compliments company.
  • Andrew J Holownych
    Took Challenge 2014-05-23 15:37:07 -0400
    i buy 100% postconsumer recycled toilet paper yeah!
  • Shawn Vanderheyden
    Took Challenge 2014-05-23 06:20:27 -0400
    glad to see better labelling and more companies doing this, if / when needing to purchase ‘new’ – mostly only for undergarments. ;)
  • Yvonne Ho
    Took Challenge 2014-05-22 15:13:11 -0400
    I buy notebooks that are made of 100% recycled paper and printing paper that are made of at least 30% recycled paper
  • Farah Motani
    Took Challenge 2014-05-18 21:17:15 -0400
    When I lived in Tanzania, I visited this amazing place called Wonder Welders where disabled artisans are hired to make items out of recyclable materials. I bought this nifty calendar and notebook! They also had jewelery, toys and furniture to name a few. And the coolest part is, you can actually see how they make everything! You can find out more at: http://www.wonderwelders.org

    In Toronto, I always use reusable bags when grocery shopping and I use recyclable stationary where possible. Staples has a decent selection! My next purchase will be recyclable business cards!
  • Patricia McPhail
    Took Challenge 2014-05-15 07:41:35 -0400
    We consciously buy paper products that are made from recycled paper as much as we can. Sometimes there is no option for a product but that is rare.
  • Katherine-Anne Skinner
    Took Challenge 2014-05-13 13:00:35 -0400
    I always use recycled paper and toilet paper. There’s even a new toilet paper that’s made of fast growing bamboo. I have a cross pen that I use to only have to recycle the inside part.
  • Marilyn McKim
    Took Challenge 2014-05-12 21:31:28 -0400
    I use old maps for wrapping paper. I use my old garbage bin for leaf waste to save paper bags. Newspapers make good window washing “rags”. I discovered that Loblaws will take back all empty plant pots whether I bought the originals from them or not. Before I switched to e-billing, I asked Toronto Hydro to mail monthly statements in a windowless envelope. I buy Greenpeace calendars yearly, printed on recycled paper.
  • Terrie Tucker
    Took Challenge 2014-05-08 08:52:22 -0400
    we often ask at places we go why they don’t recycle. Ask for the message to be passed on to the manager.
  • Judy Newman
    Took Challenge 2014-05-08 08:13:40 -0400
    Yes. My No Frills has recently stopped carrying the 100% recycled toilet tissue they have always sold. Big boo to No Frills!
  • Michael Greason
    Took Challenge 2014-05-07 19:45:55 -0400
  • Jody Yu
    Took Challenge 2014-05-07 14:31:41 -0400
    I have bought notebooks with 100% recycled paper for the last 5 years. After taking the Waste Reduction Challenge I have switched from using standard, thick ply toilet paper to the Cascades Recycled Unbleached variety. It’s more expensive, but I am also more careful with it. I have shopped at consignment stores for the last eight years. I took a pledge on my birthday last October to buy nothing but second-hand clothes for a year (except for outdoor clothing, lingerie, hosiery and shoes). Since October I have purchased a whole new warerobe, including overcoats, sequined party tops, business wear, hoodies, and accessories. I go to the Comeback for designer and brand name clothing (e.g. Burberry, Pink Tartan, J. Crew, Banana Republic, and the three Kind Exchange stores for brand name to street wear (e.g. Banana Republic, Express, Joe Fresh). I love the Kind Exchange on Queen Street West because it carrying Asian brands, since it is located right next to Chinatown.
  • Emily Green
    Took Challenge via 2014-05-05 14:15:52 -0400
    Recently bought 100% recycled printer paper, and also found 100% recycled aluminum foil at Whole Foods. Always buy 100% recycled toilet paper (I do wish it didn’t come in that plastic packaging though!).