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

Simple lightweighting in packaging, caps not so simple anymore

October 22, 2014 4:16 pm ET

The days of finding simple ways to remove additional weight — and costs — from plastic bottles are over, according to one expert.    More

Image

Unilever uses foaming in new bottle

October 22, 2014 1:35 pm ET

Foaming is a good alternative to thin-walling for reducing plastic use in consumer goods packaging, according to a Unilever plastics expert.    More

Image

Bioplastics, design join forces for SOMA

October 21, 2014 11:33 am ET

A polylactic acid made by Germany's Fraunhofer UMSICHT is a key part of the Soma home water filtration system, which its developers call the...    More

Image

Plastic particles showing up in Germany's Lake Constance

October 21, 2014 1:16 pm ET

While Fakuma 2014 exhibitors and visitors occupied themselves with topics like molding of micro-sized plastic parts during the show, the presence of...    More

Image

Corbion Purac collaboration taking bioplastics into even more uses

October 17, 2014 6:00 am ET

Corbion Purac NV's collaboration with Taiwan-headquartered compounder Supla Co. Ltd. and Taiwan electronics producer Kuender & Co. is paying dividends...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

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 analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

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

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