Absorbents and adsorbents (referred to as "sorbents") are used in environmental, industrial, agricultural, medical, and scientific applications to retain liquids and gases. Absorbents incorporate substances throughout the body of the absorbing material, while adsorbents gather substances over the surface of the material. Sorbents can be manufactured using recovered paper, textiles, plastics, wood, and other materials. EPA's designation covers sorbents containing recovered materials for use in oil and solvent clean-ups and for use as animal bedding, although recycled-content sorbents can be used in other applications.
- Recommended Recovered Materials Content Ranges
- Product Specifications
- Product Information
- Additional Links
EPA's Recovered Materials Advisory Notice (RMAN) recommends recycled-content levels for purchasing sorbents as shown in the table below.
|Material||Postconsumer Content (%)||Total Recovered Materials Content (%)|
|Other Organics/Multi-Materials 2||--||100|
2Examples of other organics include, but are not limited to, peanut hulls and corn stover. An example of multimaterial sorbents would include, but not be limited to, a polymer and cellulose fiber combination.
- The U.S. General Service Administration's (GSA's)
Absorbent Material, Oil and Water (For Floors and
Decks) states that "the absorbent material shall
consist of a uniform mixture of
minerals of the silicate type."
- The National Institutes of Health specification for Laboratory Animal Bedding, Softwood, precludes the use of recovered material. The specification states that sorbents used for "contact bedding for animals ... shall be from unused white pine (or related species of low resin soft pine) lumber."
In addition, the American Society for Testing and Materials has test methods for both absorbents and adsorbents used to remove oils and other compatible fluids from water. These are Standard Method of Testing Sorbent Performance of Absorbents (F 716-82) and Standard Method of Testing Sorbent Performance of Adsorbents (F 716-81). Neither mention any exceptions or differences for testing of sorbents made from recovered materials.Database of Manufacturers and Suppliers
GSA's Federal Supply Schedule Group 79, Schedule V includes sorbents made from recovered materials. In addition, GSA publishes various supply catalogues, guides, and schedules for recycled-content products available through the Federal Supply Service.
Buy-Recycled Series: Miscellaneous Products (PDF) (7 pp, 146K, About PDF)
This fact sheet highlights miscellaneous products designated in the CPG, including sorbents, and includes recommended recovered-content levels and a list of resources.
Document (215 pp, 381K, About PDF)
This background document includes EPA's product research on recovered-content sorbents as well as a more detailed overview of the history and regulatory requirements of the CPG process.