Environmental Committee Promotes Sustainability as Profit Center

As you know, IAPD is made up of manufactures, distributors and service providers (often competitors), all working together for the common good of our segment of the plastics industry. Whether it is government regulation, propaganda from a competitive industry or a growing need to understand a specific market, IAPD has become that common thread that unifies us as an industry and allows for a sharing of efforts and ideas that helps our members and improves our industry.

The Environmental Committee was formed in April 2008 by a group of forward-looking members, two of whom (Kevin Short of Laird Plastics and Bill Kistler of Bayer MaterialScience LLC) we still have the pleasure of working with today. Their vision of a sustainable industry and their commitment to IAPD as a conduit for assisting members has not waivered. They continue to share proven best practices that reduce waste and costs, and improve their companies’ bottom lines. In addition, the Environmental Committee continues to reach out to member organizations offering support and assistance to any who wish to implement environmentally friendly practices in their operations.

This year at the IAPD Annual Convention in Chicago, the Environmental Committee continued its pursuit of promoting and encouraging sustainable participation through our GreenScene campaign. In addition to GreenScene, the committee reviewed data from the biannual environmental survey. Topping the list of points discussed was participation. Only 36 out of 300+ members responded to the survey and only a fraction of them applied for an award. Why?

Part of the answer resides in the comment section of the survey. When asked about deterrents to implementing green programs, we received the following comments:

  • Logistics
  • Limited pressure or focus from customer base
  • Not sure
  • It is expensive to recycle

These comments reflect issues that every member of the Environmental Committee had to face when first implementing environmental programs in their companies. The good news for you is that you have access to the dedicated members of the Environmental Committee who have solved these problems on their own and are happy to help you get started with your efforts. The Environmental Committee is composed of distributor and manufacturer members representing large and small companies. Every committee member is ready, willing and able to help any IAPD member company “go green.” You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or try to face the prospect of creating your own program from the ground up. All you need to do is contact the IAPD Environmental Committee staff liaison, Liz Novak at lnovak@iapd.org and express your interest in getting started with environmentally sustainable practices. We’ll match you with an Environmental Committee member with the proper expertise and you’ll have the benefit of working with that person to start your program.

Why bother?

You might be wondering why anyone would take on the extra expense and hassle of a recycling program or other sustainability measures. What if we told you that it not only can save you money, but it can directly contribute to your company’s bottom line? Yes, recycling can be a profit generating activity for your company and, thanks to technology; it’s easier than ever to recycle scrap materials, pallets, office supplies and more.

Just within our committee we have examples of both large and small companies enjoying the financial benefits of recycling. So don’t throw money (in the form of your recyclables) away. Get started today. All it takes is reaching out to your Environmental Committee and maybe next year you’ll be on stage at the Annual Convention, getting accolades for your new program!


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