Quality & Sustainability Matter, Even With Slightly Higher Costs and Lead Times. Here’s Why.

quality sustainability

quality and sustainability

Polly Products is both an ethical and eco-friendly brand. Our team shares humble values that have led us to manufacture environmentally responsible outdoor furniture for commercial and residential markets in the United States.  We lead the pack in both quality and sustainability in our outdoor park furniture and picnic tables.

Our products are made of durable alternatives to other traditional materials that are harmful to our environment and deplete finite natural resources while also contributing to landfill waste.  Polly Products are made with ONLY 100% recycled HDPE and we manufacture every component in Michigan, USA.

As Steve Alexander, President of the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR), noted in a press release with the most recent APR report, the demand for recycled material is more vital than ever. It has been “spurred by a variety of factors, including brand sustainability commitments and legislative activity.”

We, along with our customers, could not be more proud to be a part of the sustainability movement that continues to grow as consumers demand high-quality and sustainable products. Recently, quality and sustainability have also meant longer wait times for products and higher costs.

Let’s unpack some of the reasons behind that.

Rising Costs

Post-consumer recycled resin (PCR resin) is material made from recycled plastic, like water bottles, detergent and milk jugs, and other household product containers. Virgin resin is made from natural resources such as crude oil, natural gas, petrochemical feedstock, etc. Both result in high-performance plastics that can be extremely precise and accurate in their designs; they also pile up in our landfills, and making virgin plastic exploits significant amounts of natural resources and fossil fuels.

Collecting enough PCR that can be used in place of virgin resin and maintain performance and consistency in specifications is challenging because the public as a whole just isn’t recycling enough.  And since recycled plastic is also subject to the supply vs. demand equation, as more companies commit to use recycled plastic, they create additional demand and drive costs up.  This is why some manufacturers of outdoor furnishings use virgin resin mixed with recycled plastic – it’s cheaper.

In addition, due to the high demand for fuel and oil and Russia’s war in Ukraine, the cost of virgin raw materials has skyrocketed in recent months, making recycled plastic more attractive to manufacturers. Recycled plastics must also be collected, sorted, and cleaned – costs that are factored into the final dollar tag attached to purchasing PCR resin-made products.

Recycling programs have also become more expensive in the last year. Why? For the same reason your budget has likely tightened at home.

Here is a zoomed-in example.

Like everyone else in 2022, many recycling companies have felt the impacts of rising fuel prices. Regardless of that day’s fuel cost, the same amount of refuse and recycling in any given city is put out by citizens and must be removed.  This is forcing budgets to stretch in new ways as there is no compromise on the obligation to remove the trash. Many companies have admittedly passed the higher fuel costs to their customers by raising their surcharges.

Longer Lead Times

The second issue we have seen in our line of work since 2020: supply chain backups resulted in long lead times.  Fortunately, those days are past us now and we are shipping within our normal cycles again.

As described in Plastics Recycling Update, the delay had been caused by a series of interlocking issues: “COVID-19 outbreaks have shut down or slowed down overseas production, especially of electrical components, while ocean transportation logjams have made shipping expensive and unpredictable.”  The electrical components crucial to recycling equipment switchboards and motors for machinery are experiencing longer lead times, and the facility can’t run without them.  While we don’t import anything to make our products, unfortunately, some of the electrical and mechanical equipment used in MRFs (material recovery facilities) is made overseas, and waiting on parts slows down recycled plastic processing.

When you also factor in the tight U.S. labor market that has left producers short-staffed, it further clarifies why long lead times have become the norm for high-quality products.

Working to Meet the Demand

Despite all of these factors, Polly Products has refused to compromise on what matters most to us: delivering our customers quality, eco-friendly, and ethically made products. We are still using only 100% recycled HDPE.  And we’ve been working longer and harder than ever to get back to normal lead times.  In fact, we’re ready for spring and can ensure your order is ready for the season!  We appreciate your business and promise it will be worth the wait.

Never underestimate how your recycling choices can positively impact the world around you. Click here to read more about what’s behind recycled outdoor furniture pricing and long lead times and why American-made products are worth waiting for.

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