Plastics Industry Association issues guide on environmentally preferable purchasing

Strategies are designed to drive the use of recycled content.

February 1, 2017
Recycling Today Staff

The Plastics Industry Association’s (Plastics’) Recycling Committee has released its “Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP) Guide.” The guide is designed to introduce the various EPP policies that plastics businesses can take advantage of to better position their products that contain recycled content and other environmentally friendly qualities to institutional purchasers. Institutional purchasing, in the public and private sectors, accounts for $10 trillion annually in the U.S., the Washington-based association says.

The EPP guide also outlines how companies can work with state and federal agencies to purchase products that have desired environmental benefits. Numerous federal agencies and 32 states give preferential purchasing status to products with desired environmental benefits, such as recycled content, making the business case for environmentally conscious products from design to inception throughout the entire supply chain, the Plastics Industry Association says. (See the Fall 2016 issue of Plastics Recycling magazine, a joint publication of Recycling Today and Plastics Machinery Magazine for an article on this topic.)

“In today’s climate where demand for recycled resins are down, Plastics’ Recycling Committee is looking for opportunities that will help drive demand. State and federal EPP policies have a lot of unrealized potential in terms of better positioning use of recycled content,” says Kim Holmes, vice president of sustainability at the association. “Our hope is that this guide will uncover new opportunities to use recycled content and offer recyclers a new sales strategy for positioning their materials with customers.” 

EPP policies were enacted under Executive Order 13693, “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.”

“The EPP Guide is an extension of Plastics’ Recycling Committee’s work, as it brings government agencies, municipalities and states together with manufacturers of environmentally preferred products,” says Robert Render, commercial manager of Ravago Recycling Group/Muehlstein. “It demonstrates to manufacturers the value of using recycled content and the opportunities presented by large public purchasing entities.”

The Recycling Committee at Plastics leads or participates in several industry initiatives designed to drive recovery and expand demand for recycled plastics, including Zero Net Waste, End-of-Life Vehicle Project and The Recycling Partnership.