Sunday, January 15, 2012

Full text of October 27, 2011 letter received from ecoMaine re plastic recycling:


Thanks for your patience.  ecomaine works very hard to find local markets for its materials.  We prefer to sell to manufactures closest to our facility, when available, in order to minimize environmental impacts.  The majority of our materials are sold in the US or local markets in Canada.  One of our long term plastic buyers is Graham Packaging in York, PA.   We also sell to Envisions Plastics, UltraPET, and RPM of Canada, depending on what type of plastics we have available for sale.  We do sell a very small fraction of our plastics, primarily #3-#7 plastics, to overseas markets.  In years past, on two occasions, I have worked with the American Chemistry Council to find a domestic market for #3-#7’s through their database of plastic manufactures.  After I received your email I reached out to them again.  Ultimately, I got the same result.  The individuals listed as viable users of this material were brokers who confirmed that they would be selling this material into overseas markets.  They, like us, are unaware of a viable domestic market for this material. 

We share you concerns and have worked hard to develop relationships with reputable brokers who have given us every assurance that our materials  is not being landfilled and is truly being responsibly recycled.  We trust this is the case, since the buyers are paying transportation costs to ship this material and would not do so if they intended to dispose of it.  I recognize that we have all heard salacious horror stories about recycling.  I feel confident that ecomaine is doing the right thing by recycling this material and I also feel reassured about how this material is being recycled.  ecomaine will continue to look for markets closer to home in order to minimize impacts on the environment, but until that time I believe we are contributing to the positive aspects of recycling and not the negative.

64 Blueberry Road
Portland ME  04102

From: Harold Johnson
Sent: Friday, August 05, 2011 8:27 AM
Subject: Buyers of recycled bales, U.S. or export?

Dear Sir/Madam:

I've been studying plastic pollution and plastic recycling for some time now. And I've noticed that the trend is for more & more recycled plastic to be sold to export markets, usually developing nations like China, Vietnam, and India. I've seen the pictures of what recycling villages in these nations look like, and the pollution they cause. Sometimes it feels like recycling plastic here causes more damage over there than if the plastic had just been landfilled or incinerated here.

It's all led me to worry what the end result is of most of the plastic I recycle here in Saco. Do you have a public annual report, or other documents/information, that show where your recycled bales end up? I'd feel a lot better about continuing -- and promoting -- plastic recycling in our community if I had facts to show that our recycled goods are not poisoning fields & streams 12,000 miles away.

Many thanks for your time, and for your efforts to reshape "waste" into a valuable resource.


Harold Johnson
"The Flotsam Diaries"
Saco, ME 04072

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