Recycled Content Claims

If packaging is made from materials that have been recovered or otherwise diverted from the waste stream, the FTC allows producers to make a recycled content claim. Be sure to qualify any claims appropriately.

Pre-consumer recycled content refers to materials diverted from the waste stream during manufacturing, while post-consumer recycled content refers to materials diverted from the waste stream after consumer use.

Labeling tips

  1. DO ensure you can substantiate the claims, including that the pre-consumer material would have otherwise entered the waste stream if the source of recycled content includes pre-consumer material.
  2. DO use clear and prominent language to identify the total percent of recycled material if the entire item (excluding minor, incidental components) isn’t made from recycled material.
  3. DO specify which components of the packaging contains recycled material.
  4. DON’T use the universal recycling symbol (three chasing arrows) alone unless the entire package is made from 100% recycled content and is 100% recyclable.


Example/Claim Right or Wrong? Why?

“Made from 50% recycled content paperboard”


Provided this claim can be substantiated, this claim is acceptable since the percentage of recycled content and the paperboard material are identified.

"Made from recycled content paperboard”


It is best to identify the percentage of recycled content (even if it is 100%).