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Industry professionals discuss recycling mandates

October 1st, 2008 / By: / Sustainability

Building the cost of recycling into the cost of a project is a popular idea, but if a company is in a competitive market, that extra cost could drive customers to seek cheaper alternatives, unless recycling is mandated for everyone. There is intense debate on whether government mandates or trade organization mandates might help even the playing field.

Bob McGilvray, general manager at Ferrari Textiles Corp. in Pompano Beach, Fla., believes recycling can happen without government mandates. “I have seen industries where dominant active participants can foster entire industries to change to new and better products. It is possible that such participants, acting responsibly, can softly manipulate their industries into ‘green’ actions. Groupe Ferrari has numerous clients in varied markets who are actively requesting more eco-friendly products. Clients like these are the ones that helped Groupe Ferrari to justify building our Texyloop® initiative. I prefer that our company and our clients work toward solutions together, rather than to work under any government mandates.”

Groupe Ferrari began implementing environmental manufacturing processes in 1999 to benefit the industry. One process it calls Regenerative Thermal Oxidation traps all air coming from the manufacturing facility, “scrubs” it, incinerates it, and then releases it as cleaner air than in the surrounding atmosphere.

Texyloop® is Groupe Ferrari’s own recycling facility, which collects PVC-coated polyester fabric from 27 locations across Europe and regenerates it into PVC granules for injection molding and chopped polyester fiber for reinforcement and other applications. Any European manufacturer can recycle their PVC at Texyloop®, but it’s not economically or environmentally feasible for U.S. manufacturers to use it. PVC recycling options in the U.S. are nonexistent or very limited and too costly at this point, says McGilvray.

“It’s tough to walk the fine line,” he says. “Well-to-do clients generally have no problem. In a tough economy, it gets much harder to be green. If the choice is to build with green or not build at all, green is out.”

Barbara Ernster is a freelance writer based in St. Paul, Minn.

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