Slavin uses social-media to keep plastics dialogue honest

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: October 10, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Thermoforming

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (Oct. 10, 1 p.m. ET) — Facebook and Twitter may seem alien to small manufacturers, but they are in a good position to deliver the truth about plastics, said Chandler Slavin, who scans social media for Dordan Manufacturing Co., her family’s custom packaging thermoformer.

Slavin, who began working for Dordan after graduating from college three years ago, has become a noted authority on social media. She blogs, tweets and posts on Facebook. She scans the Internet for people taking cheap shots at plastics, and responds.

She brought her message to the SPE Thermoforming Conference in Grand Rapids, delivering a rapid-fire speech Sept. 24 that summarized the history of plastics and the “new packaging world order” of social media.

The Internet may seem to be dominated by people who can shout the loudest, but Slavin said the broad middle ground of people are willing to listen to industry, and consider science-based arguments. But, she said, the big trade associations face a disadvantage in the blog-a-sphere. “People can look at them and already think they have a built-in bias,” she said. “With our industry, we’re family-owned. We’re medium-sized. We have a little bit more, I guess, of legitimacy.”

Slavin is sustainability coordinator and marketing manager for Dordan, in Woodstock, Ill. She thinks plastics trade associations should work together more closely, but said putting out the industry’s message about plastics, and countering critics, comes one person, one company, at a time.

When an audience member asked her how thermoformers can collectively counter what can seems to be a one-sided battle against plastics, she described social media as more word-of-mouth than run by a committee: “I would suggest that everybody do it themselves. If you don’t have a person who is at all engaged with social media, you can’t be there to rebuke.”

The word gets passed along, retweeted, around the world. She gave a case study. She was looking at her Twitter feed several weeks ago when she found one from a group called Teens Turning Green that has more than 3,000 followers. “And, a lot of people were listening that day when they tweeted “Plastics are cheap, nasty and toxic.”

Slavin followed the link to a website advertising “green” beauty products, and there she found a blog post titled “Plastics are Forever” which touched on plastics ocean debris and other topics, in what she called a “reductionist and uninformed treatment of plastic and the environment.”

At the same time, she read a PlasticsNews.com story about plastic litter found in seabirds. Slavin, who had participated in a panel discussion on ocean debris, did not agree with the assertions.

She posted a rebuttal, titled “Plastics are ‘cheap, nasty and toxic’ HA! Investigation into plastics ocean debris,” and Plastics News featured the discussion in a Perspective column. Then the PN feature got picked up by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s August newsletter.

Slavin’s comments generated more than 20 comments.

She posted her Thermoforming Conference speech on Dordan’s blog, www.recyclingpackaging.org.

In her speech, she said early plastics such as Bakelite were seen as marvels of science and industry. “Today, however, plastics are no longer synonymous with man’s ingenuity but representative of our over-consumptive and disposable society,” she said. Plastics have become cheap and disposable and, too often on the digital maelstrom that is the Internet, just plain evil.


Comments

Slavin uses social-media to keep plastics dialogue honest

By Bill Bregar
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: October 10, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Recycling group releases shrink sleeve label guidelines

September 26, 2014 4:02 pm ET

A post-consumer plastics recycling trade group is out with a set of recommendations to help guide the packaging industry on the use of shrink sleeve...    More

Image

Chemical regulation policy update likely to remain in limbo

September 26, 2014 1:13 pm ET

Efforts to broker a deal on national chemical regulation policy appear to have fallen apart in the waning days of the 113th Congress, leaving...    More

Image

ATI strikes gold with bowling pinsetter production

September 26, 2014 12:30 pm ET

Heavy-duty equipment used to arrange and re-set bowling pins netted three awards for Associated Thermoforming Inc. in the parts competition at the...    More

Developments in capstocks for appearance, mechanical properties

September 26, 2014 10:40 am ET

Thermoforming Conference attendees learned the latest about capstocks, to improve cosmetics and mechanical properties of sheet.    More

Image

Hylton honored by SPE Thermoforming Division

September 26, 2014 10:36 am ET

Donald Hylton, a thermoforming consultant and university researcher, has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Plastics Engineer...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our industry analysis highlights macro industry trends and micro trends faced by companies that do business in Mexico. The report also provides key industry statistics and forecasts to anticipate future industry expansion.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events