If you’ve shopped for a laptop, speaker or really any tech product recently, you may have come across the term “post-consumer recycled” or PCR.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about PCR materials, including what they are and how they contribute to many brands’ sustainability efforts.
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What is post-consumer recycled (PCR)?
Post-consumer recycled or PCR materials are materials salvaged from products that would otherwise have ended up in landfills. This can include the plastic from plastic bottles, the cardboard from cardboard boxes and packaging and the aluminium from drink cans.
These materials are collected and taken to recycling centres where they’re melted down and transformed into materials that can be then used again in new products, thus extending their life span.
Not only does this process help to keep plastic, cardboard and aluminium out of landfills for longer, but it also reduces the need for new materials to be produced which can have a harmful effect on the environment.
Post-consumer recycled materials fall under the umbrella category of recycled materials alongside pre-consumer recycled materials, which come from offcuts saved during the production of a different product, and post-industrial recycled (PIR) materials.
Unfortunately, PCR materials cannot be recycled indefinitely as, over time, the materials will degrade in quality. This happens gradually during each recycling process. That said, the fact these materials can be reused multiple times means that PCR still has its advantages over single-use plastic and other solutions.
In recent years, quite a few tech companies have begun incorporating PCR materials when building new products as part of their sustainability efforts.
Acer’s Aspire Vero, for example, has a unique green and blue speckled look thanks to the inclusion of PCR plastics in the shell of the laptop. Not only that, but the company has since expanded the Vero line to include projectors, desktop PCs, mice and monitors – all made partially with PCR materials.
PCR plastics can also be found in the keycaps and speakers of the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED and the woven Rewind fabric used throughout House of Marley’s headphones and speakers, including the Get Together 2.