In reply to George Hoopes' letter (Mailbag, Dec. 12, Page 13), plastic products may have their inherent problems, but I wonder if Mr. Hoopes has considered the ramifications of being treated by nearly any invasive medical procedure without benefit of low-cost, single-use, disposable plastic therapeutics? What would his automobile be like without the advantage of relatively low-cost, high-function and stylish plastic components?
What variety of fresh, wholesome, convenient and low-cost grocery products would be available at his supermarket?
Mr. Hoopes repeatedly uses such imprecise terms as ``filthy, trashy, junky and worthless.'' We all have seen products made of other materials to which such descriptions could be attached. The simple fact is that if any product that has any meaningful function is engineered correctly for its intended use, plastic is frequently the material of choice when all alternatives are considered with respect for cost, quality, reliability and safety. Nearly any product, regardless of material, can be broken if subjected to enough abuse, so durability is not necessarily an issue.
Finally, I would remind Mr. Hoopes that the plastics industry is truly global in nature, with products manufactured in America joined by competitive products made in nearly every industrialized nation. The high quality and relatively high-paying jobs provided by this large and growing industry contribute significantly to a robust worldwide economy.
Once again, the industry is not perfect, but we are trying to deal ethically with our known shortcomings.
TRASH PLASTICS? NO WAY!
I very much enjoyed Mr. Hoopes' letter. Perhaps he should consider becoming a spokesman for the plaaaasssstic business.
He could drive to the seminars in his 12,000-pound, 3-mile-per-gallon, $85,000 compact. We finally got rid of all that nasty plaaaasssstic. Need gas? Just stop and pick up that 30-pound pump handle and pay an additional 10 cents per gallon because of its cost.
Get on home and vacuum with your new Hoover vacuum cleaner. No plaaaasssstic here. Probably have to help your wife lug that 150-pound monster around the living room. And, boy, $1,500 was a lot of money to pay for that all-metal model.
Weeds look awful bad in the back yard, huh? Forgot to join that weight-training program so you could use your new, all-metal Weed Eater on sale last week for $900? No plaaaasssstic here. But that's okay, just don't use it. Spray those weeds with your Hudson garden sprayer. (A bargain at $600.) Hmm, I wonder if your next-door neighbor is busy tonight? Maybe he can come over and help you hold that dude up.
And golly, Mr. Hoopes overlooked numerous other horrible applications of plaaaasssstic. But there isn't enough room here to mention them all. We all know them to be worthless, anyhow.
It leaves such a bad taste in your mouth, similar to using a rusty toothbrush, I'll bet.
But one thing I don't understand. What is Mr. Hoopes' reason for canceling his subscription? He was much too subtle. I must have missed the point.
FACTS OFFER BEST DEFENSE
I read with amusement Mr. George Hoopes' letter in the Dec. 12 issue.
Normally, drivel such as this is not worthy of a response. I feel compelled, however, to defend the industry in which I have been happily and gainfully employed for the last 12.4 years.
Plastics have become an integral part of society as we know it. Autos are much more fuel-efficient as a result of plastics. Some of the best innovations in the medical industry use plastic or extruded components as key to their success. Many products have been made safer, stronger, and less costly as a result of the efforts of the plastics industry.
People such as Mr. Hoopes should think twice before they trash an industry that has become one of this nation's largest employers, and provides products that greatly improve the quality of life for every citizen.
Mr. Hoopes, and those like him, would better serve this country if they stopped littering the environment with frivolous lawsuits and negative comments on newsprint.
The plastics industry will continue to grow, much to Mr. Hoopes' chagrin.
Patrick J. Fox