COLUMBUS, OHIO-In an effort to jump on what they see as a growing recycling bandwagon, Ohio officials have updated the state's recycling market development plan. The plan, conceived about a year ago, seeks to stimulate recycling, source reduction, and government and private business purchasing of recycled materials within the state.
The update, due to be issued next month, contains strategies developed by government/industry task forces for glass, plastic, metals, paper, rubber and others, including six recommendations for plastics.
The marketing plan is an effort by the state Development Department, the Department of Transportation, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and representatives of the business community to develop an overall blueprint for recycling, using recycled materials, and fostering recycling-related businesses. The plan must be in place by next year.
``The first year of the marketing plan was spent in getting the task forces together and meeting,'' said Stephanie Koscher, interagency coordinator for the marketing plan. ``Those meetings resulted in the recommendations in this latest draft, and we are looking at moving from the recommendations to implementation.''
Specifically, the draft calls for the following actions in the plastics sector:
A review of incentive programs to promote use of recycled feedstock as a raw material in manufacturing, and to promote the use of Ohio-generated waste plastics by manufacturers.
The Development Department will publish a report on the effect of recycling on job creation, expansion and retention, and make available financial aid through the pollution control loan program to companies involved in recycling. The state Department of Natural Resources will produce and distribute a resource guide to recycling companies in the state.
ODOT will be called on to streamline its new product evaluation process for recycled-content materials, and will provide services to smaller communities in demonstration projects.
Aid in the expansion of the Ohio Buy Recycled Business Alliance, a cooperative venture of private firms to bolster recycling and use of recycled-content materials in those businesses. The recommendation includes a provision for nonprofit groups to become members of the currently all-private alliance.
The state's Division of Recycling and Litter Prevention will work with the American Plastics Council and other industry groups to develop more visible and accessible awareness campaigns to promote plastics recycling and the value of plastics.
State agencies will make additional efforts to promote recycling to children of pre-school age, and will make educational materials and programs available to a wide range of educational specialists throughout the state.
Perhaps most importantly, the draft calls for the state's Department of Administrative Services to expand Ohio's Cooperative Purchasing Program to offer political subdivisions greater access to a wide range of recycled-content products and services. DAS also is to educate all state and local government personnel on purchasing rules and requirements for recycled-content products.
``The plastics industry is very important in Ohio,'' Koscher said. ``And we feel that while the general public might not understand the recyclability and value of plastics, the marketing plan is an effort to improve that attitude through government and the private sector.''