The Plastic Lumber Trade Association has reorganized, becoming more focused on ASTM standards and a renewed lobbying effort as officials express concern about diminishing availability of post-consumer plastic.
``We all need a good source of plastic,'' incoming President Brian Larsen said during a Nov. 7 meeting in Dallas. ``With only about 20 percent being recycled, we need help. We have the ability to do lobbying. Recycling rates have to come up, for us as an industry to survive.''
For instance, one plastic lumber executive said that, to secure material, his firm often must rely on local churches to hold recycling drives.
The other changes for the lumber group include an emphasis on structural and marine applications. Now that decking and railing have climbed in market share and won acceptance, it is time to focus on structural and marine standards and on getting those passed through Conshohocken, Pa.-based ASTM International, officials said.
PLTA's efforts also will include more outreach to engineers, for instance. The group that met in Dallas included representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, civil engineering departments of universities and additives suppliers.
``There aren't many more manufacturers out there,'' Larsen said. ``We need more technical people on board.''
Chartered in Ohio in 1993, PLTA now will be based out of Worthington, Minn., where Larsen is based as president of plastic lumber producer Bedford Technology LLC.
Former President Alan Robbins will serve as secretary and treasurer. Mal McLaren, president of MG McLaren Engineering Group in West Nyack, N.Y., was named vice president.
Changes at the association have been in the works for some time. Roughly a year ago, PLTA had planned to reorganize and extend its membership to producers of wood-plastic composites.
PLTA, since its founding in 1993, has represented manufacturers of all-plastic lumber. Officials discussed last year the possibility of extending membership to wood-plastic composite lumber makers, but those manufacturers ended up forming a separate division under the American Fence Association of Glen Ellyn, Ill.
That group will have its first meeting at Fencetech, being held Feb. 5-7 in Las Vegas. PLTA will have its next meeting Nov. 12-15 in Atlanta.