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Using materials recovered from the waste stream typically results in less waste, pollution, and energy use than using virgin materials. From an environmental standpoint, post-consumer is typically considered preferable to pre-consumer recycled content because post-consumer recycled materials are more likely to have been diverted from landfills.

In some cases, we consider products with recycled content green but with some caveats regarding where they should be used. For example, rubber flooring made from recycled automobile tires should not be used in most fully enclosed indoor spaces due to the likelihood of VOC emissions.

Recycling can have downsides. For example, some studies show that curbside collection programs and some recycling processes use more energy than they save. Closed-loop recycling is generally preferable to “down-cycling,” in which a lower-grade material is produced—but due to contamination of waste streams and the difficulty of extracting high-value ingredients, down-cycling may be as good as it gets. At times recycling can re-introduce hazardous components. Some products, like copper and aluminum, include a high level of recycled content as a matter of course—which we applaud, but don’t consider justification for listing in GreenSpec. As more complete life-cycle information on recycled materials and processes becomes available, we use that to increase our scrutiny of recycled products.

Using materials recovered from the waste stream typically results in less waste, pollution, and energy use than using virgin materials. From an environmental standpoint, post-consumer is typically considered preferable to pre-consumer recycled content because post-consumer recycled materials are more likely to have been diverted from landfills.

In some cases, we consider products with recycled content green but with some caveats regarding where they should be used. For example, rubber flooring made from recycled automobile tires should not be used in most fully enclosed indoor spaces due to the likelihood of VOC emissions.

  • Fermacell Gypsum Fiber Board
  • Fermacell Gypsum Fiber Board
  • Xella
  • Fermacell Gypsum Fiber Board
    Xella
    Fermacell gypsum fiberboard is in part made from synthetic gypsum and recycled paper fibers amounting to 48% total recycled content. The boards are pressed without any binders being added and are rated European class A2 for fire resistance. The boards come in thicknesses of 10 mm, 12.5 mm, 15 mm, and 18 mm and in dimensions up to 6 m x 2.5 m.
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  • Ekoroof Roofing Tile
  • Ekoroof Roofing Tile
  • Ekoroof
  • Ekoroof Roofing Tile
    Ekoroof
    Ekoroof tiles are made from 100% post-consumer plastic, sourced from sheets used in agriculture to protect young crops from extreme heat and sunlight. The tile meets flexural test and tensile strength requirements in the Miami-Dade building code and the HVHZ hurricane code, and a Class A fire rating is available. EkoRoof comes in three standard colors and has a 50-year limited warranty. At the end of their service life, EkoRook tiles can be re-ground to make new tiles.
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  • Eco-Tuff Rubberized Non-Skid Safety Coating
  • Eco-Tuff Rubberized Non-Skid Safety Coating
  • Eco Safety Products
  • Eco-Tuff Rubberized Non-Skid Safety Coating
    Eco Safety Products
    Eco-Tuff Non Skid Coating is a zero-VOC acrylic/urethane floor coating that contains 17% biobased content, 30% recycled crumb rubber, and no solvents or glycol ethers. Appropriate for interior or exterior applications for concrete, wood, primed metal and other surfaces, this non-skid flooring is breathable yet chemical-, water-, and weather-resistant, and has “a non-aggressive barefoot friendly texture,” in 36- or 60-grit equivalent surfaces, according to the company. It is available in up to 275-gallon totes and in several colors and can be top-coated for color or sheen using the company’s other products.
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  • Recycled Granite Pavers
  • Recycled Granite Pavers
  • Stone Recyclers
  • Recycled Granite Pavers
    Stone Recyclers
    Stone Recyclers takes waste from granite counter-top fabricators and processes them for use as split stone, pavers, flooring, and other products. The company can cut the granite into a variety of patterns, and leftover material is crushed for use as fill or decoration. This recycled stone is 1-1/4" thick and can be used with polished side up or down depending on the application. Color and matching depends on availability. This granite comes with a lifetime warranty.
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  • Tyroc Subflooring
  • Tyroc Subflooring
  • B-JET
  • Tyroc Subflooring
    B-JET
    Tyroc is moisture- and mold-resistant subfloor made from a fiberglass-reinforced magnesium oxide (MgO) panel bonded to a substrate comprised of 60% post-consumer rubber and 40% post-consumer polyethylene. The molded rubber substrate has a grooved pattern to allow airflow so moisture can drain or evaporate away. Tyroc can be installed above or below grade and over cracks or pitted concrete, where appropriate, providing a vapor- and moisture-impermeable surface with excellent sound dampening, and serving as a thermal break between concrete and flooring. The 48" x 16" x ½" panels weigh 10.5 pounds and come with a limited 30-year warranty.
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  • Ecocell Cellulose Batts and Blanket Insulation
  • Ecocell Cellulose Batts and Blanket Insulation
  • Cellulose Material Solutions
  • Ecocell Cellulose Batts and Blanket Insulation
    Cellulose Material Solutions
    Cellulose Material Solutions offers Ecocell batts and blankets that are made of 60% cellulose from recycled paper, along with cotton, and jute with a polyethylene binder. Ecocell achieves a Class A fire rating (ASTM E-84 Standard) using borates, which also prevent pest intrusion. Ecocell blankets are R-3.7 while the batts are R-3.6, with a density of 2.5 pcf. The batts also achieve an acoustical rating of STC 50. Batts are available in 16" and 24" widths (0.4m and 0.6m) and 94" and 96" (2.4m) lengths. Blankets are 48" x 96" (1.2m x 2.4m) or 48" x 108" (1.2m x 2.7m).
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  • FilterPave Porous Pavement
  • FilterPave Porous Pavement
  • FilterPave
  • FilterPave Porous Pavement
    FilterPave
    FilterPave is a porous pavement that can support pedestrian and light vehicular traffic loads. With a compressive strength of 1,160 psi and a flexural strength of 508 psi, the pavement is designed for applications like sidewalks, patios, bike paths, and driveways. The poured-in-place material has a porosity of 39% and an SRI of 29. According to tests conducted by the University of Central Florida, FilterPave provides 6.2 inches per hour of infiltration even with excessive sediment loading and 33.1 inches per hour after a rejuvenation cycle. The pavement is a mix of 100% post-consumer glass and regionally sourced stone and aggregate, bonded with a polyurethane elastomeric resin. FilterPave Glass Series has over 20% glass, and FilterPave Stone Series may be mixed with up to 20% glass.
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  • Fellert Acoustical Plaster
  • Fellert Acoustical Plaster
  • Fellert USA
  • Fellert Acoustical Plaster
    Fellert USA
    The makers of Fellert Acoustical Plaster claim their product solves cracking problems while also providing an exceptional NRC rating of 0.85–0.90. Acoustical plaster provides a highly reflective interior that also absorbs sound and reduces noise even in large, open space, but its seamless look often doesn’t last because plasters tend to crack with normal settling and other loads. With a backing made of acoustical fiberglass board and spray-applied plaster incorporating perlite, bentonite, and post-consumer recycled cotton, Fellert Acoustical Plaster can flex—with an internal stress rating of 2.1 according to ASTM D6991-05. The product is installed with PVC-based C-channels.
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  • Creative Office Systems Remanufactured Furniture
  • Creative Office Systems Remanufactured Furniture
  • Creative Office Systems, Inc. (COS)
  • Creative Office Systems Remanufactured Furniture
    Creative Office Systems, Inc. (COS)
    Creative Office Systems specializes in the recycling and remanufacturing of Herman Miller and Haworth systems furniture and other products. Products typically have 70% post-consumer content and the company also offers 100% recycled content fabrics and finishes. Paints and adhesives have low or no VOC emissions, and no solvents are used. Case goods including conference rooms, reception areas, and private offices may be manufactured using FSC-certified wood. Creative Office also runs a take-back program where its own products can be returned to be remanufactured again.
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  • R.A.C.E. Refurbished Office Furniture
  • R.A.C.E. Refurbished Office Furniture
  • R.A.C.E.
  • R.A.C.E. Refurbished Office Furniture
    R.A.C.E.
    R.A.C.E. refurbishes Herman Miller office furniture and partitioning systems with a typical work cluster configuration having a total recycled content value of 50%. R.A.C.E. metal parts are powder coated with a VOC-free durable finish, according to the company, and its adhesives are solvent-free. The company offers a number of 100% recycled content polyester fabrics and FSC-certified materials on a special order basis.
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  • UniRac PV Mounting Systems
  • UniRac PV Mounting Systems
  • UniRac, Inc.
  • UniRac PV Mounting Systems
    UniRac, Inc.
    UniRac produces systems for mounting PV modules. SolarMount is a system of components for flat and tilted roofs. SolarMount-I has an enhanced I-beam design and is cost effective at 10 cents per watt, according to the company. SolarMount-E is geared to distributors and installers with universal design and fewer stocking parts. RapidRac is a residential flat roof mount that has only seven components. SunFrame offers building integration, a low-profile, and a choice of finishes. U-LA is for arrays of 3-kW or more. UniRac typically uses 20%–25% post-consumer recycled aluminum and 75% post-consumer recycled steel. Most shipping materials are salvaged or have recycled-content.
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  • Caraustar Concrete Column Forms
  • Caraustar Concrete Column Forms
  • Caraustar ICPG Corp.
  • Caraustar Concrete Column Forms
    Caraustar ICPG Corp.
    Caraustar (formerly Smurfit) Concrete Column Forms are recycled-paper concrete forms with a polyethylene-impregnated virgin kraft interior layer (to aid release) and a waxed exterior. The recycled-paper content is estimated to be 90% from mixed, post-industrial, and post-consumer sources, according to the company. Caraustar Concrete Column Forms are available in a full range of diameters up to 60''.
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  • MM6125-EV Modified Bituminous Membrane
  • MM6125-EV Modified Bituminous Membrane
  • American Hydrotech, Inc.
  • MM6125-EV Modified Bituminous Membrane
    American Hydrotech, Inc.
    MM6125-EV is a roofing membrane consisting of reclaimed rubber and recycled oil. This membrane is most often used in an insulated roof membrane assembly (IRMA). It can also be applied to foundation walls, parking decks, tunnels or planters, but is not intended to be exposed or traffic-bearing. Weight of the installed membrane is 1.17 psf for the standard assembly.
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  • ATS Acoustic Ceiling Panels
  • ATS Acoustic Ceiling Panels
  • ATS Acoustics
  • ATS Acoustic Ceiling Panels
    ATS Acoustics
    ATS Acoustic Eco-Panels provide sound control in commercial and residential applications such as conference rooms, schools, offices, and apartment complexes. They have an NRC sound absorption rating of 1.0 and are available with either 80% pre-consumer recycled cotton or Ecose fiberglass from Knauf, which contains 58% post-consumer recycled content and uses a formaldehyde-free binder (Ecose products have a Class A fire rating; cotton are Class B). Frames are made from 90% pre-consumer HDPE and the backing is FSC-certified PureBond plywood. These panels are available in a variety of colors and in sizes up to 24"x48"x 4". Custom panels are also available.
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  • Kinetex Floor Tiles
  • Kinetex Floor Tiles
  • J&J Flooring Group
  • Kinetex Floor Tiles
    J&J Flooring Group
    J&J Flooring Group’s Kinetex is a soft surface floor covering intended for use in place of hard surfaces such as vinyl composite tiles in medium- to high-traffic commercial applications. These 24" x 24" semi-rigid tiles are 0.20" thick, compared to 0.25"–0.60" for standard carpet tiles, and are engineered with a wear layer made from solution dyed PET that resists staining or bleaching and is woven for abrasion resistance and durability. Kinetex is made from 60% recycled content (50% post-consumer PET sourced primarily from water and soda bottles) and, unlike carpet, can be ground and processed into new backing in one step without costly material separation and sorting or loss of performance. Kinetex is treated with perfluorinated compounds to resist dirt and improve its lifespan, but its long-term environmental impact is a concern to GreenSpec.
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