Written by William G. Handlos, P.E.
Just like every industry, the Geosynthetics landscape is filled with competition, imitation, and sometimes false promises. But, when do these false promises go too far and put a market at risk?
The Geosynthetics industry is a technically driven market with educated specifiers and consumers. Delivering a product that performs as advertised should be critical to a company’s success.
Unfortunately, a puffery business culture has developed due to two key factors. First, the construction industry has developed a price-driven condition. Price will always be a factor. But standards, performance and metrics should matter too. The cultural changes brought by the information age have eroded the healthy skepticism that professionals need to maintain in order to vet product claims.
Second, the bifurcated and disparate decision model utilized in construction designing and bidding is a threat to honest manufacturers. We do well with the architectural and engineering specifiers. But, when the project is awarded, the importance, and the nuances of those specifying quality are lost as the decision makers switch from the engineering team to the contractors and purchasing agents who are under pressure to create value and increase profits. They rarely understand, don’t have the time (and seldom the inclination) to pay attention to overstated product claims.
At Presto Geosystems, we believe that our words matter. We pair the word ‘Genuine’ with our, GEOWEB® Cellular Confinement System, not as a form of puffery, but as a commitment—an obligation. We pledge to our customers to deliver what they expect, a geocell created with only 100% Virgin HDPE.
Genuine virgin HDPE is proven to be superior for several reasons.
- Weld strength, consistency and time-tested long life
- Durability with ‘stretch but don’t break’ cell tensile strength and weld reliability
- Low brittleness
Recycled HDPE (often found to be hidden behind the guise of ‘special’ blend or new formulation) is indeed inferior.
- Each generation of reuse weakens the polymeric bonds
- Very inconsistent as recycled material varies because it is sourced from a melting pot of material that constantly changes
- Is stiffer and more brittle
- Very bad for weld strength and consistency
What can you do? If you are a specifier, hold your spec and hold out for genuine. If you are a contractor, remember that you get what you pay for. Cheap products are made with cheap materials. Genuine GEOWEB® Systems will cost less to install and saves you rework and claims. If you are a manufacturer, do your part and look to the future. Markets are built slowly through conservative product claims and experience. That can quickly be destroyed by loss of product genre credibility.
Our customers and the public deserve our best—our genuine best.