FHPSB Technical Guidance
This page contains document links to Construction Criteria Base

Recycled Content

General Principles and Commitments

For EPA-designated products, use products meeting or exceeding EPA's recycled content recommendations. For other products, use materials with recycled content such that the sum of post-consumer recycled content plus one-half of the pre-consumer content constitutes at least 10% (based on cost) of the total value of the materials in the project.

Technical Guidance


Today, more and more building products are made from recycled materials—from carpeting to insulation. Buying recycled helps "close the recycling loop" by putting the materials we collect through recycling programs back to good use as products in the marketplace.

Green building rating systems often include credit for materials of recycled content and may distinguish allowable credit for post-consumer and post-industrial (or pre-consumer) recycled content. USGBC-LEED™ v2.2, for example, factors 100 percent of post-consumer recycled content but only 50 percent of pre-consumer (post-industrial) recycled content into calculations for its recycled content materials credit. LEED™ v2.2 grants one credit to a project for using materials with recycled content such that the sum of post-consumer recycled content plus one-half of the post-industrial content constitutes at least 10 percent of the total value of the materials in the project; 10% (post-consumer + 1/2 post-industrial). It grants an additional point for 20% (post-consumer + 1/2 post-industrial). Green Globes US also provides points for reused building materials and components and for building materials with recycled content.

Recycled content is typically determined by calculating the weight of the recycled material divided by the total weight of the product and expressed as a percentage by weight. (The recycled content "value" of a product as assessed under LEED is determined by multiplying the recycled content percentage and the cost of the product.)

Within your agency, ensure processes exist to review all draft building construction and renovation documents for opportunities to use recycled—content products, and that these product requirements are clearly written into specifications. The Federal Green Construction Guide for Specifiers provides model guide spec language to assist agencies in meeting these requirements.

Related Mandates

  • Source Separation and Materials Recovery Guidelines - 40 CFR Part 246. Requires federal agencies to recycle high grade paper, newspaper, and corrugated containers.
  • Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG) - 40 CFR 247. Section 6002 of RCRA requires Federal agencies to give preference in their procurement to the purchase of specific EPA-designated recycled content products. EPA designates products that are or can be made with recycled materials and also recommends recycled materials content ranges for these products. Designated construction products include: building insulation products; carpet; carpet cushion; cement and concrete containing coal fly ash or ground granulated blast furnace slag; consolidated and reprocessed latex paint; floor tiles; flowable fill; laminated paperboard; patio blocks; railroad grade crossing surfaces; shower and restroom dividers/partitions; and structural fiberboard.
  • Affirmative Procurement Guidelines - 42 USC 6962
  • Executive Order 13423, "Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management"

Additional Considerations

Storage and Collection of Recyclables

Assure adequate indoor and outdoor collection and storage space is provided for recycling.

Major Resources


Design Objectives

Sustainable—Use Environmentally Preferable Products

Model Contract and Specification Language