I found the Page 7, Feb. 3 article by Roger Renstrom (``Calif. approves contested recycling rate'') worth commentary. Mark Murray said the public and recyclers have shown [the capacity to recycle], and consumer products companies fail to demand recycled-content packaging.
Cascade Engineering Inc. is working to close the loop, but we still meet with reluctant participation. Industry customers and legislated recycling programs drive our business. Cascade Engineering is a plastics molder in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Our core business is plastics injection molding for original equipment manufacturers in the automotive, furniture and waste industries. We utilize a variety of plastics in our products, with post-consumer recycled content becoming more important to our customer base.
Specifically, our container division (carts made for automated trash, recycling and green waste collection) is manufacturing our carts and containers with 25-30 percent post-consumer high density polyethylene to comply with the intent of state-legislated mandates such as California's AB 939. I have found that even within California, some cities are missing an opportunity to support the purchase of recycled content.
What sends the wrong message to manufacturers like us is when a city that collects plastics as a part of its curbside program then struggles to find market outlets but refuses to demand recycled-content carts or containers for its collection program.
Recently, Sacramento County, Calif., passed on demanding from its suppliers any post-consumer content. The quantity of carts was 50,000, which is equivalent to some 500,000 pounds of post-consumer content.
The consumer, the recycler and the manufacturer lost out on this opportunity.
I can shed some light on this issue of use, markets and participation levels. Cascade Engineering has entered into contracts to supply carts for Redondo Beach and Santa Ana, Calif. Both communities have made their purchasing power count.
Cascade Engineering carts contain more than 1.25 million pounds of post-consumer plastics. Plastic is taken from curbside programs, baled, washed, pelletized and molded into a product that meets the automated collection practices and enhances the streetscape of these cities.
The irony is, we are processing plastic containers to make plastic containers.
The loop is only closed when laws are in compliance, the manufacturers invest in the research and infrastructure, and the communities buy into the benefits.
Cascade Engineering Container Group West