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Recycling vinyl

FRED ABLER, founder of the Toggle Tube Company in San Luis Obispo, Calif., has spent the past year and a half working on the development of a coin roll made from 85 percent post-industrial recycled vinyl. His efforts are paying off.

Last year, the Vinyl Institute, a national trade association representing major US manufacturers of vinyl, launched a program to identify and provide financial support to manufacturers of recycled vinyl products. Qualified candidates such as Mr. Abler receive a portion of the up-front tool costs needed to commercialize a new product.

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So far, children are the biggest fans of the coin roll. But Abler, an architect by training, says he hopes the product will become the basis for a successful industrial design company.

``The credibility of being associated with the Vinyl Company was actually more important than the money,'' Abler says. ``And it's good for them because it shows that they have one of the most progressive development programs for recycled products.''

The coin rolls, which most likely will be sold in stationary and office supply stores, can be reused up to 30 times. Abler estimates that the recyclable coin rolls will consume nearly 450 tons of vinyl each year that might otherwise end up in landfills. Americans throw away 4,700 tons of paper coin wrappers each year, he says.

``The romance is just beginning between industry and environment,'' Abler says. ``Each has skills the other needs in order to address the `buy recycled' issue. Environmentalists can help form public opinion; the industry side knows business and can help make a product a reality.''

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