This includes plastic packaging, such as containers, packets, films, labels, as well as paper and cardboard. (Glass, aluminum, and steel are commonly manufactured with recycled content, so recycled content specifications are not as critical for those materials.)

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  • There are a variety of plastic resins, paper products and other packaging materials that can be found with recycled content.
  • Certain manufacturers have been approved by FDA to produce food grade recycled high density polyethylene (HDPE) packaging. In other cases, FDA evaluates requests for recycled content in specific HDPE food grade plastic containers on a case by case basis.
  • Recycled paperboard is commonly 100% recycled content.
  • Corrugated paper products are often at least 50% recycled content.
  • Recycled content boxes in food applications can still meet US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements. -Brands seeking recycled content packaging can work with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition to find the material that will work best for their application.
  • Other information can be found on the APR Demand Champions PCR Vendor Database,, under the “Packaging” listing.

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  • The product shall meet or exceed the federal CPG guidelines for post-consumer recycled content.
  • Consider appropriate color and performance specifications tailored to the application.

Resources for additional information:

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This toolkit was developed with support from the EPA Sustainable Materials Management Program.

Comments and Feedback Welcome.  E-mail Jan Hardin at