Archive for the ‘Opinions’ Category
There is growing concern that President Obama’s executive order to cut back on federal agency spend on promotional products, could lead to job losses in the US. Amid these fears, Paul Bellantone, President and CEO of PPAI exclusively told PPD:
“Given the current economic climate, federal and state governments must make tough decisions about where to invest valuable financial resources. Like all well run organizations, the federal government and its agencies must market its programs and services. The Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) believes that those marketing investments should be based on the effectiveness of the marketing mediums in consideration. Promotional products have proven themselves to be the most cost-effective way to reach a targeted audience in a tangible, long-lasting and memorable manner. While it might be tempting to limit the purchase of promotional products in order to yield some short-term savings, in the long term, this prohibition may unintentionally diminish the good work of federal agencies.”
The Executive Order directs agencies to stop wasting taxpayer money on non-essential items used for promotional purposes, such as clothing, mugs, and non-work related gadgets, according to a White House statement.
The estimated $4 billion in annual savings won’t go to reduce the deficit and instead will be diverted to other federal programs. “We’re cutting what we don’t need so that we can invest in what we do need,” the president said in a statement before signing the order.
Departments and agencies must come up with plans in 45 days to reduce costs in these areas by 20 percent below fiscal 2010 levels and achieve them by 2013, according to the order.
THE DEBATE about abolishing plastic bags rumbles on, highlighted again most recently by a Daily Mail campaign, raging about the lack of action taken on abolishing the plastic bag by Government.
The article stated that 330 million extra plastic bags were handed out by supermarkets last year and called for all retailers to do better.
However, what is less commonly reported is that the humble plastic carrier is not necessarily the environmental pariah it is always reported to be. A report in the Independent on Sunday (IoS) in February noted that hitherto-unpublished Government research highlighted that the plastic carrier may not be an “eco villain” after all.
Although much loathed by environmentalists and vilified by consumers, the plastic bag is actually quite green when compared to many of the eco or reusable alternatives.
According to the IoS, the draft report by the Environment Agency found that ordinary high density polythene (HDPE) bags used by shops are actually greener than supposedly low impact choices.
The newspaper said: “HDPE bags are, for each use, almost 200 times less damaging to the climate than some cotton bags favoured by environmentalists and have less than one third of the Co2 emissions than paper bags which are given out by retailers.”
This is a fact that can be easily borne out by experiences in Ireland.
Far from reducing the carbon footprint, the abolition of plastic bags actually increased the CO2 cost.
While it was true that the “plastax” did lead to a dramatic drop in the number of bags used in retail outlets and shops, it also triggered a 400% increase in the number of bin liners and black refuse bags purchased.
It is perhaps a populist action that tries to signify action, when really it is more smoke and mirrors or diversion tactics. The environmental picture is, after all, somewhat larger than the plastic bag. We need to continually look at credible options and encourage sustainably sourced products.
PET non-woven bags, for example, are made entirely from used plastic water bottles, are 100% recycled and 100% reusable, with each empty bottle transported on what would otherwise be empty cargo ships.
This really is an example of strong eco-credentials and a sensible approach to creating eco-products.
There is a bigger picture here and it is important that we see all sides. Otherwise, we could be guilty of going along with populist politics, rather than making a move that really will help us look after and sustain our planet.
- Andy Steavenson is the MD of Crazy:Bags