WASHINGTON-Six products which often contain recycled rubber are among the 19 the Environmental Protection Agency has added to its list of recycled items for priority consideration in government procurement. Floor tile, patio blocks, traffic cones, traffic barricades, playground surfaces and running tracks are among the recycled products listed in the final rule published in the May 1 Federal Register, to go into effect May 1, 1996.
The final rule also adds engine coolant to the list. For years, it has already included retread tires.
``Our intent is to open a door for recycled product manufacturers,'' said EPA spokeswoman Dana F. Arnold.
Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the EPA has the authority to order federal agencies to maximize their purchases of goods made from recycled materials. Only if such products are not readily available or are inordinately expensive are procurement officials excused from that requirement.
Accompanying the final rule was a set of EPA recommendations on what constitutes acceptable recycled products for agencies to buy. The agency advised that patio blocks, floor tiles, playground surfaces and running tracks contain 90 to 100 percent recycled rubber or plastic.
For traffic cones, the recommended recycled material level is 50 to 100 percent crumb rubber, polyvinyl chloride or low-density polyethylene. Traffic barricades should be 100 percent recycled low- or high-density polyethylene, polyethylene terephthalate, fiberglass or steel.
Recycled-rubber floor tile is required only for heavy duty or commercial use, since it is never used for office space, the EPA said.
The agency recommended that agencies with their own vehicle maintenance facilities establish their own programs for engine coolant recycling. When they service their vehicles at commercial garages or buy engine coolant directly, they should always request recycled coolant, it added.
While the EPA did not recommend one kind of coolant over another, it did recommend that agencies not commingle coolants with two different base chemicals.
Though the effective date is a year away, recycled product manufacturers should be able to sell their products to government agencies before then, according to Ms. Arnold.
``The agencies have a year to revise their specifications and contract procedures, but it shouldn't take them a year,'' she said.
In the RCRA docket at the EPA is a list of companies that make and sell the recycled products named in the final rule, according to Ms. Arnold. Interested companies can contact the RCRA Information Center to obtain copies of the list or to see about being included on it, she added.
They may reach the RCRA Information Center by calling (202) 260-9327 or writing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, RCRA Information Center, Room M2616, 401 M St. S.W., Washington, D.C. 20460. The center charges 15 cents per page for copies of all documents.
The 1986 RCRA reauthorization put forth the first recycled product purchasing requirements for federal agencies, with retread tires and crumb-rubber-modified asphalt among the items on the first list.
Retreads have been a priority purchasing item under General Services Administration guidelines since November 1989. The government, however, declined to set procurement guidelines for asphalt rubber, because of its high cost compared with conventional asphalt.