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Recycled Content (ReCon) Tool

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ReCon User's Guide

ReCon Online

EPA created the Recycled Content (ReCon) Tool to help companies and individuals estimate life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy impacts from purchasing and/or manufacturing materials with varying degrees of post-consumer recycled content. Emission estimates provided by the ReCon Tool are intended to support voluntary GHG measurement and reporting initiatives, as well as such initiatives as EPA's Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG) Program. ReCon is available both as a web-based calculator and as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (135 kb WinZip archive).

The ReCon Tool calculates GHG emissions and energy consumption related to purchasing and/or manufacturing activities using analyses of baseline and alternative recycled-content scenarios. For example, the tool will allow the user to estimate the GHG emissions and energy benefits of purchasing office paper with 35 percent recycled content instead of 25 percent recycled content. Emissions and energy impacts are calculated using a life-cycle perspective (i.e., what impacts will this purchasing or manufacturing decision have on emissions and energy use associated with the manufacture and disposal of a given material).

ReCon is periodically updated as new information becomes available. Users may refer to the model history to better understand the differences in among various versions of ReCon. ReCon was last updated October 2010.

ReCon and WARM were developed for purchasers and waste managers, respectively. ReCon calculates the benefits of alternative recycled content purchasing decisions. WARM, on the other hand, calculates the benefits of alternative end-of-life waste management decisions. Both tools calculate the benefits of an alternative scenario versus a business-as-usual scenario.

The WARM and ReCon tools are based on a life-cycle approach, which reflects emissions and avoided emissions upstream and downstream from the point of use. As such, the emission factors provided in these tools provide an account of the net benefit of these actions to the environment. This life-cycle approach is not appropriate for use in inventories because of the diffuse nature of the emissions and emission reductions contained in a single emission factor.

Using ReCon

The ReCon User's Guide will help you get up and running with the ReCon software. A Microsoft Excel version of ReCon is available for free download and can be installed by following the directions below.

To download the zip file:

> Save this file (ReCon.zip 135 kb WinZip file) to your hard drive.
> Open it and extract the ReCon.xls file to your hard drive.

The installed program is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet application. After you have installed the program, you may run the application:

Using Microsoft Excel 5.0
> To run the ReCon tool, open the ReCon.xls file.
> Select the "Read Only" option.
> Then you may begin using the ReCon application.
Using Microsoft Excel 97 or higher
> To run the ReCon tool, open the ReCon.xls file.
> Select the "Enable Macros" option.
> You may then begin using the ReCon application

IMPORTANT: In order for ReCon to function, your Excel settings must be set to permit the use of macros. For instructions on adjusting your security settings and enabling macros, please refer to the ReCon User's Guide.

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