Buy Recycled

Once you have reduced, reused, composted, and recycled, you can close the loop by making sure the things you buy have recycled content in them. See our Waste Prevention, Waste Reduction, and Buy Recycled brochure (PDF, 472.79 KB). In 2010, the NDSWRA created Educational Recycling Kits that contain items that can be recycled and examples of what those recyclables can get made into. There is now one kit in every county in North Dakota. See the list of locations on the Recycle kit page . Check out what happens to the everyday items that you recycle and what they get made into.


Aluminum/Steel Cans

Aluminum cans are nearly infinitely recyclable. Did you know it takes less than 60 days from the time you purchase a can of pop, consume it, and recycle it, and it is re-manufactured and shows up on the store shelf to be purchased again? Due to the intensive mining of our natural resources, aluminum cans are the most recycled item from households. That is why recycling centers or scrap metal facilities sometimes offer money for your used beverage containers (UBC). The average aluminum can contains 40% post consumer recycled aluminum (U.S. EPA). Steel/tin cans are recycled separate from aluminum cans. Steel is also almost infinitely recyclable.

Plastic Bottles

#1 plastic bottles are often made into carpeting, clothing, and filling for sleeping bags. #2 plastic bottles are often made into composite decking, park benches, picnic tables, and more.

Glass Bottles/Jars

In North Dakota, clean glass can be made into a “glassblasting” material, aggregate for road projects or as landscaping rocks. Glass is almost infinitely recyclable, however, weight, distance to markets, contamination, and high transportation costs are some factors that effect glass recycling. Glass Advantage in West Fargo, ND produces a glass media, abrasives, and tumbled rock for landscaping. Wine bottles can often be reused by those to conduct home brewing. If glass recycling is not available in your area, you could consider switching products to those that are packaged in plastic or aluminum containers that would be more recyclable.

Paper Products

Corrugated Cardboard

Corrugated boxes are typically made into new boxes or paperboard (cereal/tissue boxes).


Newspapers are most often made back into more newspapers, but they can also be made into insulation and egg cartons. Locally, Pactiv Corporation in Moorhead, MN makes egg cartons from our local used newspapers. You can “close the loop” buy purchasing eggs made from paper instead of foam.


Magazines are often made into tissue (toilet) paper.

Office Paper and Mixed Paper

These types of paper are often made into gypsum wallboard, chipboard, and other products.