Having read the recent story regarding the closing of Obex Inc. [“Recycler, extruder Obex closing up shop,” Feb. 23, Page 4], I felt compelled to write Plastics News to share my experiences in the recycled-content product markets the last 12 years.
We manufacture a line of auto accessories and industrial spill-containment trays made from recycled/reprocessed high density polyethylene. Our marketing goals were to present a line of quality, value-added, durable products that can, in many cases, be used for environmental protection, that just happened to be made from recycled/reprocessed resin. Though success has been limited, to say the least, our products have met our goals.
The press has been very good to our company. Many magazines, both consumer and trade, have printed press releases and done small stories on our products. The Tampa, Fla., CBS affiliate aired a news piece on our company. CNN did a story on us that ran on all its channels for a week. Parade magazine referred to us in a story on recycling. In spite of all of the publicity, business interest has been lacking.
In 2000, we received the first “Creative Use” award from the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, yet no APR member companies have shown any interest in working with us to build markets for a our products. We were part of a group of Florida plastics processors who set up a small expo in the courtyard of the state capitol. Yet, even with advance notice, no one from the state purchasing group came down to view our products. We have received nothing but resistance and apathy from the auto-makers to whom we have shown our products and marketing concept.
This letter is not intended as a “woe is me” sympathy plea. From what I continue to see, my specific experience mirrors the condition of the recycled-content industry in general.
I am left with two questions: Where are the “buy recycled” initiatives? Is the “buy recycled” campaign merely another topic that has a great deal of symbolism with little substance?
Pro-form Technologies Inc.