New biomats from NEMROC meet two federal mandates.

By Kerry McGinley

A new office product hitting the Procurement List Jan. 1 will enable customers to meet two federal mandates with a single purchase. New biobased chair mats produced through the AbilityOne Program by North Eastern Michigan Rehabilitation and Opportunity Center, Inc., are approved under a Department of Agriculture initiative to increase the use of biobased products.

NEMROC is a member of the nonprofit network of SourceAmerica, an AbilityOne authorized enterprise.

Because the chair mats are made from a plant-based rather than petroleum-based resin, the mats are certified under the USDA's Biopreferred Program, which encourages the purchase and use of biobased products. Employees of NEMROC in Alpena, Michigan, cut the mats from a hemp oil-based material that meet the requirements of Executive Order No. 13693: Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade. The chair mats are listed in the Biopreferred catalog as products of the AbilityOne Program.

The AbilityOne program, formerly known as the Javits-Wagner-O'Day or "JWOD" Act, helps the federal government meet its procurement needs and provides employment opportunities for people who are blind or have significant disabilities.

"Our name is now out there (on the USDA Biopreferred site)," said Scott McClintic, NEMROC marketing director. "Because it goes through the AbilityOne program, they actually are putting a note on our description that it's AbilityOne. Customers are hitting two mandates in one product."

McClintic said the new mats are perhaps higher quality than petroleum-based mats.

"The company that supplies us the material says it actually is clearer than the vinyl counterpart and holds its clearness a lot longer," he said. "It might be a better, much nicer looking product in the end."

With the addition of the biobased mat, NEMROC is now producing 14 different types of biobased floor mats that protect all floor types – carpet, vinyl, wood, etc. It doubles their mat offerings on the Procurement List, McClintic said.

The new AbilityOne biobased chair mats will be available through GSAAdvantage.com and the network of FSSI OS3 Office Product Dealers.