Cities purchase a lot more than just foodservice ware and can yield a lot of market influence in their request for proposals (RFPs) for products and services such as furniture, electronics and shipping/receiving packaging. Let’s start first with the broad goal to only purchase recyclable, compostable or reusable plastics by 2030 (or sooner!). Then let’s reward reusable, less toxic and more recyclable options through these suggested actions:
- Choose Nos. 1, 2 and 5 plastics as safer and more recyclable, and phase out purchases of Nos. 3, 6 and 7 plastics whenever possible.
- Award points for companies that deliver with reusable packaging such as pallets, ice packs and shipping crates.
- Penalize companies that deliver products individually wrapped in plastic, such as clothing.
- Require companies to take back their products at end of life (as many cities do with electronics).
- Ask how much post-consumer recycled content is used in durable goods, choose the highest amount available and then ask companies to add more.
- Avoid black plastics; they are problematic for recycling programs and often contain hazardous chemicals.
- Give preference for durable and modular products such as carpet tiles.