Post-Consumer Waste (PCW) is a waste type produced by the end consumer of a material stream; that is, where the waste-producing use did not involve the production of another product. Quite commonly, it is simply the garbage that individuals routinely discard, either in a waste receptacle or a dump, or by littering, incinerating, pouring down the drain, or washing into the gutter.
Post-Consumer Waste is distinguished from pre-consumer waste, which is the reintroduction of manufacturing scrap (such as trimmings from paper production, defective aluminum cans, etc.) back into the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer waste is commonly used in manufacturing industries, and is often not considered recycling in the traditional sense. Post-Consumer Waste can consists of many different materials including, packaging, parts that are not needed, such as fruit skins, bones in meat, dust, weeds, fallen leaves. PCW can also include undesired things received such as advertising material in the mailbox, a flyer received in the street without having the opportunity to refuse. PCW can also include things one no longer needs such as a magazine that has been read, things replaced by new versions, clothes out of fashion, remaining food that one cannot keep or does not want to keep. Post-Consumer Wast can also be broken things, things no longer working, spoiled food, worn-out clothes, clothes which no longer fit, outgrown items toys, clothing, books, schoolwork disposables such as Kleenex and finished batteries. There are other specific types of PCW such as human waste, waste of pets, waste water from various forms of cleaning and "post-life waste".
When new products are made from post-consumer waste, this creates n effort to reduce waste and the consumption of virgin material. Products made from post-consumer waste help close the loop and create markets and value for the materials that have already been used. This provides an economic incentive to use the material again instead of sending it to landfill. Maybe even more importantly, there are many wonderful products made from post-consumer materials and we encourage consumers to look for these types of items.