Let’s start with the understanding that the Federal Trade Commission states that if scrap generated in the manufacturing process is reused for manufacturing new product, it can not be calculated as post-industrial recycled content, as this reuse of scrap is a part of the typical manufacturing process. So your first question when receiving post-industrial recycled content data should be, “How did you make this calculation, and where did the recycled waste come from?”
Stakeholder demand for recycled content in building products has been largely driven by the LEED® rating system, and the points gained by contributing to the recycled content credit. Now, since scrap reused in the manufacturing process can not be calculated, many manufactures play a form of the “shell game”.
If a manufacturer has multiple facilities making products that generate scrap which can be reused in all the manufacturing processes then, to calculate post-industrial recycled content, the scrap is just moved between facilities. Now the scrap is claimed to be diverted from landfill and calculated as recycled content.
Please understand that for a recycling program to work, a manufacturer needs a continuous feedstock of waste material, so some of this moving around of scrap is legitimate. If the manufacturer is playing the shell game just “for the points,” then all that is being done is increased energy use and CO2 emissions... how sustainable is that?