IT'S NOT THAT EASY BEING GREEN
For instance, Lederer said a recycled product could not truly be green if the process by which it was recycled proved to be harmful to the environment. “We don’t know what may have gone into recycling that product or that the recycled product later might ... not end up in a landfill,” he said.
As part of creating a comprehensive Eco-Promise, which essentially assures distributors of Prime Line’s commitment to making “straightforward, candid claims” about its sustainable products and practices, Lederer said the company has spent a great deal of time and money researching its recently introduced Eco-Design logo. It comes complete with a list of terms and definitions of the components that make up the products in Prime Line’s Eco-Responsible line. For example, terms such as “recycled” and “material substitution” are defined and assigned a corresponding number. If a product was constructed from recycled material and also had some of its materials replaced with environmentally safe ingredients—as was the company’s Recycle Fold ‘Em Up Ruler—the item will appear with the recognizable, circular green arrow generally associated with recycled products along with the numbers one and seven in the arrow’s center. In Prime Line’s Eco-Responsible program, No. 1 is assigned to the term “recycled” while No. 7 is assigned to the term “material substitution.” This way, Lederer said, his company is simply offering information so distributors and end-users can decide what is or isn’t green for them.
IN THE BEGINNING ...
Paul Kiewiet, immediate past chairman of PPAI’s board of directors, noted the onset of the industry’s widespread interest in environmental sustainability at 2007’s PPAI Expo in Las Vegas. At this year’s Expo, it was clear the fever had caught on. “Environmentalism resonates with people. We have to live on this planet and so I think we’re seeing our suppliers responding to that by looking for promotional products [that are less harmful to the environment],” he said.