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What are Secondary Materials?

Secondary Materials are materials that have been used, recycled and sold for use in manufacturing. These products allow for less reliance on the search for new raw resources for items such as paper, aluminum and plastic. It is advantageous in the sustainable use of resources so that these materials can be maintained for longer periods.

The use of secondary materials is not a new concept. Society has used secondary materials as early as 2000 B.C., where bronze was repeatedly reused for weapons, armor and tools. As civilization began to develop, the independent collectors, known as “cartmen,” collected rags, bones and coal dust for reuse in the process of paper, glue and bricks respectively. The practice of using secondary materials became necessary during the First and Second World Wars when resources became strained due to the war effort. Today, the reuse of materials continues to play a significant role in manufacturing and the conservation of our resources by allowing us to enjoy the everyday products that we take for granted.


Other Sources

“For Education.” Began with the Bin. Accessed May 3, 2016.

“Recycling – secondary material price indicator.” Eurostat. April 4, 2016. Accessed May 9, 2016.