I have to admit that I am not much of a reader but I do pick up Plastics News and skim it every time it is dropped off on my desk. One article caught my eye [Don Loepp's Viewpoint, “Is plastics recycling a cynical strategy,” Sept. 21, Page 6].
My background of 20 years in Europe leads me to believe that [Plastic Pollution Coalition co-founder] Lisa Kaas Boyle has a bit to learn on world economics and the necessity of recycling. I have lived it. Imagine consumers collecting and separating their own junk and bringing it to the recycling facility once a month or so. This is what happens in many parts of Switzerland and it works. People make money and that is why it works.
With that in mind, let's find a way that the consumer can save money by buying recycled. Will they do it? I believe the answer is yes if the savings is great enough to warrant the risk.
I am trying to keep this short and sweet but the explanations on why we have moved more than 40 percent of our production from virgin to recycled (in six months) is rather long. In a nutshell, this is how it happened:
In the beginning we use no recycled materials for our products; raw materials spike in 2008; we look for alternative materials; the economy dumps; I call for my mommy (had to add that); we look at cutting costs; raw materials plummet; in the meanwhile, we find that recycled materials work well; the state of California picks us out of the crowd as a green company and we receive a grant; we are sucked into the “green train” and now recycled goods represent 40 percent of what we do and that number is growing; finally, our new grant is pushing us rapidly toward the use of recycled tires.
Now the big question is carbon footprint. Here is a brief explanation: With virgin materials, resins come in from Houston to California. Products are then shipped out to North America and export markets. With recycled materials, 90 percent of recycled feedstock comes from our region and then goes to a grinding facility in Rialto, Calif., and then on to reprocessing in Riverside, Calif., where our production facility is also located, and then products are shipped out to North America and export markets.
The end result: a smaller carbon footprint and 30 percent savings for the consumer. The beauty is that the consumer cannot see the difference.
Tell Ms. Boyle (like another famous Boyle) to try out for the Britain's Got Talent show since her talents are not needed here.
In closing, I would ask her this question: If we had no more resources to make new plastic material, what would we do?