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SPLC 2019 Summit: Purchasing for Zero Waste: 3 Case Studies from Higher Education

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Slides from Sapna Thottathil, Associate Director of Sustainability, Office of the President, University of California, Office of the President, presented at the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council’s 2019 Summit in Portland, OR.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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SPLC 2019 Summit: Purchasing for Zero Waste: 3 Case Studies from Higher Education

  1. 1. Waste (plastic) in our environment (and wildlife)
  2. 2. A worsening situation: China’s plastic ban
  3. 3. https://www.ucop.edu/sustainability/
  4. 4. New Sustainable Procurement Policy Led by our Sustainable Procurement Working Group The main policy provides some key principles, definitions and targets for Economically & Socially Responsible as well as Green Spend. Sustainable Procurement Guidelines 1. Defines what is UC “Green” or environmentally preferable 2. Defines what is UC "Economically and Socially Responsible“ 3. Defines UC “Sustainable Spend” (piloting) 4. Provides guidance for solicitations (beyond certifications) Economic Environmental Social
  5. 5. Structure of Sustainability
  6. 6. • Defines “packaging foam,” which includes all types of polymeric foam used for packaging/cushioning, including those made from polystyrene (EPS or “Styrofoam”) and Polyethylene (EPE), among others • Applies to all packaging materials except lab and medical packaging/products • Is already in effect for food service facilities (as of Aug. 2018) • References the Sustainable Procurement Guidelines (where implementation and exemption procedures will be explained) UC 2019 Foam Policy
  7. 7. 2019 Foam Policy Language I. Definitions Packaging foam: Any open or closed cell, solidified, polymeric foam used for cushioning or packaging, including but not limited to: Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam, Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) foam, Polychloroprene foam (Neoprene), Polypropylene (PP) foam, Polystyrene (PS) foam (including expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) and polystyrene paper (PSP)), Polyurethane (PU) foams, Polyethylene foams, Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) foam, and Microcellular foam. Not included is easily biodegradable, plant-based foams such as those derived from corn or mushrooms. III. F. Zero Waste 5. By 2020, the University will prohibit the sale, procurement or distribution of packaging foam, such as food containers and packaging material, other than that utilized for laboratory supply or medical packaging and products. The University seeks to reduce, reuse and find alternatives for packaging foam used for laboratory and medical packaging products. a. No packaging foam or expanded polystyrene (EPS) shall be used in foodservice facilities for takeaway containers. For implementation guidelines as they relate to the procurement of goods for University of California campuses, reference the University of California Sustainable Procurement Guidelines. V. G. Sustainable Procurement 7. In accordance with section III.F.5., the University has disallowed the use of packaging foam by 2020. For implementation procedures, reference the University of California Sustainable Procurement Guidelines.
  8. 8. State of Foam in Supplier Packaging Example #2 Information Technology Supplier: • Late 2017 – Shipped 4 models in molded pulp cushions. • FY18 - Rolled out 9 products with molded pulp, with goal to have all products with fiber-based cushion design (in addition to EPE cushions). • 2019 - Piloting low-end lines with molded fiber • Use “100% Recycled/Recyclable Expanded Polyethylene (EPE)” for some lines. • Moving some lines to hybrid solutions - replacing certain amount of EPS/Styrofoam cushions with fiber-based packaging. Example #1 Furniture Manufacturer: • Minimally use EPS on some products for damage minimization. • Switch to EPP would cost over $1 million • 1-3 year plan to reduce usage of EPS and Arcel, but struggling to find viable alternatives that provide same level of packing protection. • Agree Zero Waste is a great target for packaging, but notes that the life-cycle impacts resulting from damaged product could exceed those of some foam packaging materials
  9. 9. Proposed Exemption Process for Suppliers 1. Provide a description of all non-compliant foam packaging material(s) for which an exemption is being requested. Include the type of foam material (i.e. expanded polyethylene) and a description of the specific uses of the material (i.e. laserjet printers). 2. Provide an explanation for why your company requires the use of these foam packaging materials for these specific product types. 3. What is the duration of the exemption you are requesting (maximum 12 months)? 4. Provide an explanation to support the determination that there is no suitable compliant alternative or that all suitable compliant alternatives cost more that 15% more than the non-complying foam packaging materials. 5. State your company's strategy for eliminating the use of all foam packaging materials listed in Question #1, and for identifying environmentally preferable functional alternatives. Provide a phase out date for each foam material listed. If there is no suitable functional alternative, provide a factual explanation to support that determination. If all suitable functional alternatives cost more than 15% more than the non-complying foam packaging materials, include this in your explanation. 6. State your company’s approach to achieving each phase out. 7. Explain any potential obstacles in the marketplace that might prevent your company from achieving stated phase out. 8. Define take-back programs in place for any foam packaging materials used by your company for products delivered to the UC. 9. If your company is approved to receive an exemption, you will be required to provide quarterly reports estimating the weight and volume of packaging foam materials distributed to the UC, inclusive of all manufacturers. If this reporting poses an undue burden on your company, detail the obstacles/hardships preventing you from being able to provide this information.
  10. 10. Supplier Survey Results on Exemption Process Step Supplier Exemption Requirement Readily Available Will require resources to provide Virtually impossible to provide 1 Description of non-compliant foam packaging material(s) for which an exemption is being requested 2 Explanation for required use of each material 3 Duration of exemption being requested 4 Supporting explanation for determination that there is no suitable compliant alternative 5 Strategy for eliminating the use of all foam packaging materials listed, including phase out date for each foam material listed 6 Approach to achieving each phase out 7 Potential marketplace obstacles that might prevent you from achieving stated phase out 8 Description of take-back programs available to UC 9 Quarterly reporting on estimated weight and volume of packaging foam materials distributed to UC, inclusive of all manufacturers, or description of obstacles/hardships preventing ability to provide the information
  11. 11. Next Steps • Finalizing the exemption procedures for suppliers, anticipated to be published Summer 2019 • Developing guidance on how to implement/enforce through contract provisions • Developing guidance on how to implement/enforce for non-contract suppliers, as well as distributors • Continue collaborating with suppliers
  12. 12. Thank you!

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