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Recycled Content (ReCon) Tool

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About the ReCon Tool

EPA created the Recycled Content (ReCon) Tool to help companies and individuals estimate environmental impacts from purchasing and/or manufacturing materials with varying degrees of post-consumer recycled content. Estimates provided by the ReCon Tool are intended to support voluntary reporting initiatives, as well as such initiatives as EPA's Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG) Program.

ReCon and the Waste Reduction Model (WARM) were developed for purchasers and waste managers, respectively. ReCon calculates the benefits of alternative recycled content purchasing decisions. WARM, on the other hand, calculates the benefits of alternative end-of-life waste management decisions. Both tools calculate the benefits of an alternative scenario versus a baseline (business-as-usual) scenario. The ReCon Tool has been updated with data from WARM, version 15, and is available both as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and as a web-based calculator.

Environmental impacts in ReCon and WARM are calculated using a life-cycle perspective. This perspective reflects upstream and downstream impacts from the point of use. As such, the factors provided in these tools provide an account of the net benefit of these actions to the environment. This life-cycle approach is not appropriate for use in inventories because the method of calculating the impacts are not always consistent with inventory protocols.

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Excel Spreadsheet Version of the Tool

A Microsoft Excel version of ReCon is available and can be installed by saving this file ReCon Tool Version 5 Updated (XLSX)(121 K) to your computer. The saved program is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet application. To run the ReCon tool, open the Excel file. You may then begin using the ReCon application.

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Web-Based Calculator

Please follow the steps below to enter the appropriate information and then select the desired “View” button to obtain the estimated GHG or energy benefits of increasing the post-consumer recycled content of materials.

Step 1. Amount of Materials Purchased or Manufactured

  • First, you can enter a brief description of the "material purchased" in the far left column (not required for the tool to function). Please note that the EPA has not evaluated all material types; if the material of interest is not listed, enter your data in the row of a "surrogate" material similar to the materials you purchase or manufacture. 1
    • 1 Note: The use of surrogate material types should be considered as an approximation only. Actual GHG emissions and energy consumption related to the manufacture of materials other than those specifically listed in the surrogate material column may differ significantly.
  • Second, enter the amount of each material that is purchased in pounds. The "tons" column will be calculated automatically. Please note that different materials of the same basic material type (e.g., steel drums and steel rods) should be included in the same row. If you do not have weight information for certain materials, the Unit Converter Sheet provides some conversion factors for each material type.


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