Recyclers Fight Back!
Letter from Ed
By Ed Brindley Jr.
Date Posted: 11/1/2002
A number of veteran recyclers across the country have joined forces to go head-to-head with CHEP. No, they are not starting a national recovery pool. These leaders and innovators are daring to confront the mighty giant by organizing independent recyclers in a grassroots coalition aimed at using the courts and information exchange to level the playing field.
In early October, these recyclers banned together to create the CORE Recycling Council Inc. (CORE). While stopping short of naming the target, CORE launched with the following mission to "engage in activities and information exchange that preserves the integrity of the white wood pallet market while helping recyclers remain profitable and competitive."
CORE is a not for profit, private organization. Founding members elected a board of directors and tapped Don Black of Pallet Services Inc. in Anacortes, Wash. to serve as president. Judy Peck, a professional with years of organization management expertise including a background in the pallet industry, has agreed to join CORE as its vice president of operations.
Not wanting to compete with existing trade associations, Don clarified the difference between CORE and trade associations. "CORE is a private, grassroots organization of pallet companies mobilized behind a common cause," he said. CORE has squarely targeted an issue of extreme concern to most recyclers and many manufacturers.
Several recyclers have asked me if I thought they could be a member of CORE and one of the major pallet industry trade associations at the same time. For now, the answer quite simply is yes. CORE plans to tackle issues that other groups canít because of the often complex and conflicting concerns of their members. Thus, it appears there should be no real competition or hard feelings between trade association members and CORE except for those aligned with certain third party leasing/management companies.
Itís obvious that recyclers will run CORE to protect the best interest of recyclers. There has always been some underlying tension between new pallet manufacturers and recyclers. For a while, pallet recyclers were the new boys on the block while manufacturers represented the old guard. This has even impacted some trade associations. Even though many pallet companies now do both manufacturing and recycling, there still exists a difference in priorities for some industry decision-makers.
Admittance is not automatic; as a private organization, CORE can refuse to allow companies to join. Recognizing the need to protect the identity of some of its supporters, CORE plans to keep information on its members confidential. According to Don, CORE is calling all qualified recyclers ó regardless of their size ó to join by becoming members, and it will consider applications by pallet manufacturers and other companies on a case-by-case basis. To entice as many recyclers as possible to join, CORE intends to keep the fees low and run on a lean budget.
"We want to unify recyclers to protect our industry from bullies that are using scare tactics to force recyclers to work for free," said Don. "We plan on proactively working to secure the future of the industry." For years, efforts to organize recyclers on this issue have failed. But this time it may just work because many of them face a common concern ó the never-ending stream of blue pallets flooding the market. Don claimed that COREís founders are committed to making the organization work and to do what it takes to achieve its goals. As a grassroots organization, CORE wants companies to do more than just sign-up. CORE plans to educate and equip independent recyclers to deal with the issue of proprietary pallets on their own.
Companies that join CORE receive the following benefits: legal briefings, assistance in setting up a proprietary pallet strategy, admittance to conference calls on industry topics, access to a secure Web site with chat room and more.
For more information, contact CORE at 800-445-3864 or 800-299-2974. With many recyclers privately grumbling about the proprietary pallet "problem" for years, the development of CORE marks a first for the pallet industry.
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