By: Don Loepp
March 20, 2013
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 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.