ALEXANDRIA, VA. - Most businesses that make a practice of buying products made of recycled materials, including plastics, are pleased with the performance of those products, a survey has found. In addition, nearly 60 percent of respondents said they bought a new product with recycled content in 1995, according to the survey by the Buy Recycled Business Alliance, a program of the National Recycling Coalition.
``That means people are not just stopping at getting fax paper, stationery or business cards on recycled content. They're looking beyond that,'' said Phil Bailey, director of market development for the coalition, based in Alexandria.
The alliance was formed in 1992. It consists of national and local companies committed to increasing the purchase of recycled-content products. The group released the results of its annual membership survey May 20.
While 97 percent said they were pleased with the quality of recycled-content products purchased in 1995, many respondents still expressed concern about recycled products being higher in price but lower in quality than those made of new materials.
``Recycled [products are] still perceived as being made out of garbage, trash,'' Bailey said. ``The reality is there are many quality, recycled-content products available that perform as well and sometimes better than their virgin counterparts.''
More than 90 percent reported buying office supplies with recycled content, while about 20 percent said they purchased lesser-known recycled products such as textiles, transportation and construction materials. More than half said they told suppliers of their interest in purchasing recycled-content products.
For the first time, businesses were asked about their purchasing practices as opposed to specific dollars spent on recycled-content products. Surveys were mailed to the alliance's 1,500 members in January, and 342 businesses responded.
The alliance's membership since has climbed to include 2,400 businesses, an increase largely attributed to recruitment and outreach efforts stemming from the coalition's public-private partnerships with 28 states. There is no charge to join the alliance, and the coalition asks only that its members respond to the annual survey.
``I think it's important to have a network of contacts where people who have this interest in buying recycled products can learn from one another and reinforce each other's efforts to share information,'' said Bill Meng, corporate procurement manager for Atlanta-based Southern Co. and chairman of the alliance's steering committee, which sponsored the survey.