Green certification has become commonplace in the industry, and while chemical and paper manufacturers have had a number of choices to consider, plastic bag liner manufacturers had nothing tailored to their products. That was until recently, when the California Film Extruders and Converters Association (CFECA) launched its Environmentally Preferred Rating (EPR) program.

Robert Bateman, a CFECA director and president of Roplast Industries Inc., Oroville, Calif., said the group has been working on the program for four or five years. The group based its accreditation standards on regulations — both mandatory and voluntary — that are already established by environmental organizations or the government.

To become accredited, companies must go through an audit that takes into account airborne and liquid emissions, pellet containment, and the elimination of heavy metals and pigments in inks and color concentrates.

The program also looks at the company’s recycling claims — both that it has a recycling program and that any claims about the use of post-consumer goods in the manufacture of the plastics are substantiated.

“Finally, a company will get higher ratings if it participates in environmental activities such as waterway and highway clean-ups or education programs on the importance of handling materials properly,” said Bateman.

CFECA charges $5,000 to audit a single facility and $2,500 for a company’s other facilities.

It has been less than a year since CFECA began auditing companies, and several companies are undergoing the auditing process. Assuming that the companies currently being audited become accredited, Bateman says the combined annual sales of all the companies involved is well over $1 billion.

Heritage Bag’s Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., location was recently accredited. Scott Hoeft, vice president of marketing for Heritage Bag, said his company is active in organizations that represent the plastics industry.

“We believe their Environmentally Preferred Rating program is a great step toward creating standards for manufacturers that are interested in developing best environmental practices at their facilities,” said Hoeft.

Over the past couple of years, Heritage Bag has made several modifications to its California plant that are in line with the specifications of the EPR program, so many practices that are examined during the audit were already in place.

“However, we did implement some new practices in the areas of spill containment, signage and others,” said Hoeft.

Bateman believes more plastics manufacturers in the jan/san industry will be interested in this accreditation, because many companies — and their customers — are interested in using products that have a reduced impact on the environment.

Proposed Standard Aims To Reduce
U.S. Reliance On Foreign Oil
The Bush Administration recently proposed a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) Program designed to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil by doubling the use of renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel.

With continued concern over the availability of fuels from overseas, such a program could ultimately help the domestic oil market and regulate prices at the pump.

It is expected that the program could cut up to 3.9 billion gallons in petroleum use and 14 million tons in greenhouse gas emissions annually by the year 2012. RFS also promotes the use of fuels derived from crops produced by American farmers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will work with agriculture and industry representatives to develop solutions that will be good for the environment and human health.

“The Renewable Fuels Standard recognizes the value of home-grown energy, and it supports our rural roots by investing in bio-fuels,” said Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, in an EPA press release. “It also increases ethanol and biodiesel use and is the first step toward America’s energy future.”

During 2006, the EPA implemented the Energy Policy Act by requiring that 2.78 percent of all the gasoline sold or dispensed to U.S. motorists be renewable fuel. Under the new RFS regulation, that percentage would increase to 3.71 for 2007.

The rule provides compliance tools and a credit and trading system, and also allows renewable fuels to be used in geographical areas where they are most economical.

In 2006, about 4.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel will be consumed as motor vehicle fuel in the United States. This volume will increase to at least 7.5 billion gallons by 2012 under the RFS.

DoD Finds Value In Bio-based Goods
When you think of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), you generally don’t think about the cleaning industry. However, the DoD recently held a “Bio-based Showcase and Education Event” at the Pentagon, where government officials touted the benefits of bio-based goods, including cleaning products.

Acknowledging that the DoD has the largest budget of any federal agency, and therefore purchases the most products, Gordon England, deputy secretary of defense, said the department has a lot of market clout and needs to lead by example, according to a DoD transcript of the event.

“Bio-based products are an integral part of our overall strategy,” said England. “Some people call it a green strategy. I just call it the department’s strategy, a very central part of our strategic approach to national security. Many of these products are substitutes for products based on nonrenewable natural resources.”

England emphasized the DoD’s support of bio-based products by citing Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, which was looking for a bio-based floor cleaner.

The facility purchased a soy-based cleaner that was more effective than the product is had been using, and the move saved the base $12,000 in procurement costs.

NAW Releases Book On Lean Warehousing
The National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW), Washington, D.C., recently released a new book
titled Lean Warehousing, which applies the “lean manufacturing theory” to warehousing.

Author Ken Ackerman illustrates how to apply the components of the theory to warehousing operations,

helping distributors eliminate wasted space and wasted time. The book provides checklists and tips on how to improve the flow of material, better utilize space and how to create perfect orders.

Purchasers will also receive, free of charge, 12 issues of Ackerman’s “Warehousing Forum” — a monthly newsletter for warehousing professionals. For more information on the book, visit

Green Seal, ISSA Introduce Reduced-Rate Program
Green Seal and ISSA have teamed up to provide price discounts on Green Seal’s cleaning product certification fees for smaller ISSA members — specifically those that have annual sales revenues of $20 million or less.

On average, Green Seal will provide a 25 percent discount in the evaluation fee of a single product and a 15 percent discount on the evaluation of multiple products submitted at one time. A 10 percent discount will be applied to the evaluation of a product similar to an already certified product.

The two organizations’ goal is to make Green Seal certification as accessible as possible to smaller companies.

“Although our fees are in line with those of other certifying bodies around the world, when you’re a small manufacturer, every penny counts,” said Linda Chipperfield, director of marketing and outreach for Green Seal Inc.

Chipperfield said Green Seal already began receiving applications for the discounted rates as soon as it took effect on September 1.

Green Poll:
Distributors Know Their Stuff
A recent survey of 170 jan/san distributors found that while they think they are “very well educated” on green cleaning, their customers are not. The survey found that 65 percent of distributors see themselves as “very well educated,” while the remaining 35 percent believe they, “know something about it but have questions.”

However, zero distributors said their customers are “very well educated,” 48 percent said their customers “know something but have questions,” 43 percent indicated their customers “know very little,” and 8 percent said their customers know “essentially nothing,” about green cleaning.

Other findings from the survey conducted by AlturaSolutions, Chicago, on behalf of EnviroSolutions, Peterborough, Ontario, included: 43 percent of customers were going green because of rules and regulations, and environmentally preferable products are more in demand at schools, colleges and universities, rather than industrial and commercial facilities.

When polled about prices, distributors said 67 percent of their customers will “sometimes” pay more for green products; 24 percent will pay more; and 8 percent will not.


Input Sought On OSHA Standard Revision
ISSA is encouraging its members to give their thoughts on an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) regarding proposed revisions to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).

The revisions would bring OSHA’s HCS in line with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). The revisions will require major changes to the hazard classification, labeling, MSDS and training provisions within the HCS.

ISSA asks that members answer the 20 questions posed in the ANPR and send them to Bill Balek at ISSA no later than November 1. Comments made directly to OSHA are due no later than November 13.

Manufacturing Sector Holds Strong
According to supply executives contacted for the Institute for Supply Management’s “Report On Business,” activity in the manufacturing sector grew in August for the 39th consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 58th consecutive month.

Norbert J. Ore, C.P.M., chair of the ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said growth is seen in orders, production and employment. There were nine industries reporting growth in August, including electrical equipment, chemical products and paper products.

Job Cuts On The Horizon At Home Depot HQ
The Home Depot Inc., Atlanta, is cutting about 300 jobs at its headquarters — about 5.5 percent of the 5,400 people who work there. The cuts are due to the company’s recent decision to invest $350 million in the second half of 2006 to increase availability of staff, customer service call boxes and self-checkout terminals.


Ecolab Inc., St. Paul, Minn., has bought DuChem Industries Inc., Newnan, Ga., a manufacturer of cleaning and sanitizing products used by the food service industry — specifically the meat and poultry segments. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ecolab has also purchased the commercial laundry business of Powles Hunt & Sons Intl., Ltd. from Quill International Group. Powles Hunt is a leading supplier of professional laundry products in the United Kingdom.

Bunzl, St. Louis, recently made two acquisitions: Morgan Scott, Toronto, a jan/san and foodservice disposables distributor; and United American Sales, Wilmington, Ohio, redistributor of personal protection equipment.

3M, St. Paul, Minn., has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Nylonge Corp., Elyria, Ohio, a manufacturer of cleaning products including cellulose sponges, scrub sponges and wipes. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

DadePaper, Miami, recently acquired Coastal Supply of NWFL Inc., Destin, Fla. Coastal Supply is a distributor of foodservice disposables and janitorial supplies. The acquisition expands DadePaper’s presence into the Florida Panhandle.

In SM’s August Newsworthy section, the article “Unisource to Launch ‘Green’ Product Line” incorrectly stated that Unisource’s “Respect” line of cleaning products had found approval with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI). This is not the case. The USGBC and CIRI do not certify products or product lines.