Post-consumer waste is a waste type produced by the end consumer of a material stream; that is, where the waste-producing use did not involve the production of another product.
The terms of pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled materials are not defined in the ISO standard number 14021 (1999) but pre-consumer and post-consumer materials are. These definitions are the most widely recognized and verified definitions as used by manufacturers and procurement officers worldwide.
Quite commonly, it is simply the waste that individuals routinely discard, either in a waste receptacle or a dump, or by littering, incinerating, pouring down the drain, or washing into the gutter.
Post-consumer waste is distinguished from pre-consumer waste, which is the reintroduction of manufacturing scrap (such as trimmings from paper production, defective aluminum cans, etc.) back into the manufacturing process. Pre-consumer waste is commonly used in manufacturing industries, and is often not considered recycling in the traditional sense.