Economic development in the reuse and remanufacturing sector is an opportunity for Ohio businesses to lower their environmental impact.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency this week launched a new online service for Ohio businesses, not-for-profits and government organizations to advertise and acquire potentially useful products and materials that may otherwise be destined for disposal in landfills, leading to a more sustainable and green environment.
The new Ohio Materials Marketplace is a free online platform allowing those organizations to connect and find solutions to material reuse and recycling needs.
“With statewide access to thousands of Ohio’s businesses, communities and other organizations, Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance is well positioned to bring members together in this modern online marketplace,” said Craig Butler, director of Ohio EPA. “This new service positions Ohio as a leader in the circular economy, helping remove materials from the waste stream, promoting jobs and allowing for better efficiency and savings in the processes of creating goods and services.”
Materials reuse has deep impact through the entire value chain, including landfill diversion, energy reduction, land use impact reductions and water use reductions, according to Butler.
In the circular economy, products and by-products recirculate productively through reuse, remanufacturing, recycling and maintenance.
Examples of items posted in the marketplace are common items such as bulk wooden pallets, which can be repurposed for mulch base, used bricks for building materials or other items from industrial processes such as spent foundry sand, which can be mixed with potting soil or specialized items such as spent hydro-treating catalyst for metals recovery.
Along with looking for materials, users can post “wanted” items that might substitute for raw materials or other items members currently purchase.
Examples of requests already posted this week include bulk alumina oxide, used for metals harvesting/recovery, and bulk food waste in packaging, to be used for anaerobic disgestion or energy recovery, according to the division.
What differentiates the marketplace from other online markets is that the platform is active in design and functionality rather than passive, according to Ohio EPA.
Previous models, such as the Ohio Materials Exchange, worked as a simple bulletin board with little or no engagement by the host.
The new marketplace is maintained by the Ohio EPA, which markets the site to potential users, verifies that users and items posted meet qualifications to participate, and actively works to facilitate connections between users.
This site is specifically designed as a business-to-business or business-to-community exchange for reusables and recyclables.
Users of the marketplace can make or save money by finding a market for their unwanted materials and avoiding landfill tipping fees.
Buyers may also save money by having access to sellers discounted (or free) materials, and therefore Ohio’s environment benefits by having more material removed from the waste stream.
At the conclusion of each transaction on the marketplace, the project team also calculates and reports environmental impact metrics.
The program was launched with the support from the not-for-profit United States Business Council for Sustainable Development. More information about the marketplace is available at ohio.materialsmarketplace.org.