Report: Government purchasing may improve post-consumer plastic market
- The Plastics Industry Association's newly released Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Guide outlines untapped potential to align the post-consumer plastics market with local government procurement offices, as reported by Plastics News.
- Public and private institutional purchasing is a $10 trillion annual market in the U.S. Within that market 32 states and multiple federal agencies give preference to sustainable products. Twelve of those states specifically have requirements for plastic products.
- The latest notable federal requirement comes from a 2015 executive order from President Obama called "Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade," which directed the EPA to identify sustainable products and develop acquisition strategies. Recycled content was listed as a positive environmental attribute to be considered in this process.
As noted in the report, previous federal policies that were rolled out in the late '80s and added in the '90s by President Clinton had a large effect on the amount of recycled content in paper products. A 2007 executive order from President Bush that gave purchasing preference to devices on the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool registry was also cited.
In another effort to improve the post-consumer plastics market, Moore Recycling Associates and Plastic Forming Enterprises will be conducting a new study to get more information on the supply and demand ratio of scrap plastics. Having a better understanding of the demand for material could help influence investments around processing technology moving forward. Companies involved in the market are being asked to take a survey.
For all the focus on collecting, sorting and processing this material it may be easy to lose sight of where it ends up. Though as prices for some categories of plastic remain low, affecting haulers and recyclers, the strength of post-consumer markets is very relevant.
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