The Plastics Blog
By Don Loepp | About The Plastics Blog

Plastics industry leaders urge recyclers to step up, get involved

By Don Loepp | March 20, 2013 07:49 am ET

Recyclers can be playing a bigger role in letting a skeptical public know about plastics' environmental advantages.

That's part of the message delivered March 19 to a major meeting of plastics recyclers in New Orleans. The speakers were Bill Carteaux, president and CEO of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., and Steve Russell, head of the American Chemistry Council's plastics division.

In response to a question about the plastics industry's image problem and how recycling — one of the fastest-growing plastics sectors — can help, Carteaux jumped at the opportunity to say how recyclers can help combat some of the misinformation and "junk science" that dog plastics.

"When is the last time you had a Congressman or a Senator visit your facility?" he asked the crowd at the Plastics Recycling 2013 conference, sponsored by Resource Recycling Inc. "When was the last time you wrote a letter to Mayor Bloomberg when he tried to ban foam polystyrene?"

Russell added: "There's an issue here, and we need your voice."

After the session, both industry leaders spoke about the critical role that plastics recyclers can play to help set the record straight about plastics.

"It is our experience that policymakers who have been the most vocal critics of plastics have consistently been told that plastics recycling is a myth," Russell said. "It is critically important [for recyclers] to speak up."

Carteaux told the recyclers that SPI and ACC has been holding regular meetings with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association with an aim to speaking with a single voice on critical issues.

Some other key points in their talk:

  • Carteaux made a plug for recyclers to join SPI's Operation Clean Sweep.
  • He said the industry is spending "in excess of $5 million" to defend against bag bans — a figure that was cited several times by other speakers at the conference, often in the context of what they could do with that sort of funding to encourage more plastics recycling.
  • Carteaux said 72 municipalities have bag bans, but — to date— there are no statewide bans. He highlighted that there are 19,000 U.S. municipalities that have not restricted plastic bag use.
  • Russell touched on efforts that ACC is supporting to get New York City to rethink Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to ban polystyrene foodservice packaging. Part of their strategy is to make sure City Council members know that the material is recyclable, and that there are recyclers in the NYC-area who want the city's polystyrene.
  • Russell said the issue of marine debris is serious, and something that keeps him up at night. But he added: "We're not going to ban our way to a cleaner ocean," and he highlighted international plastics industry efforts to prevent litter and promote a proper approach to plastics waste management, including recycling.
  • Carteaux talked about the positive impact that shale gas is having on the U.S. economy, specifically the plastics industry. He said SPI is helping to sponsoring a report that will come out later this year that will include detailed information about the impact of shale-gas on plastics.

Carteaux also wore a colorful orange golf shirt made from recycled PET. He said the plastics industry trade associations have licensed a company to make shirts and other products from recycled materials under the name Resin Gear.

Companies that buy Resin Gear products will be able to highlight the recycling message, and a portion of the proceeds will go to support the industry's efforts, he said.


Recent Blog Posts

Cool dad breaks Hot Wheels record   April 23, 2015 4:20 pm ET
Molding company founder and art collector makes headlines in Chicago   April 22, 2015 11:05 am ET
People who ditch single-use plastic bags eat more cookies   April 20, 2015 11:38 am ET
From space to Earth   April 8, 2015 11:31 am ET
Plastics recyclers suffering, PN pricing in the news   April 6, 2015 11:43 am ET
Plastic gets official for March Madness   March 19, 2015 10:47 am ET

Comments

Plastics industry leaders urge recyclers to step up, get involved

By Don Loepp

Published: March 20, 2013 7:49 am ET
Updated: March 20, 2013 8:12 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story

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

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

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

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

September 15, 2015 - September 17, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events