``P lastic, who needs it?'' That's the latest salvo fired at plastics, this time from the tampon industry. Tambrands Inc. has chosen to latch on to the ``green'' machine of advertising by bashing plastics in its new, $13 million media campaign. The firm charges that its cardboard tampon applicators are environmentally superior to plastic products used by rival Playtex Products Inc.
Don't laugh. The tampon industry is a $680 million business, and the stakes are high not only for both companies but the plastics industry as well.
In addition to the actual poundage lost to produce the polyethylene applicators, the image of plastics is at stake. The question once again raises its ugly head: Is plastics bashing really good business?
It seems to me that waging a war for brand loyalty based solely on green issues won't result in a mass exodus ofconsumers abandoning plastic applicators.
Tambrands claims on its boxes of Tampax-brand tampons that its applicators are ``flushable and biodegradable.'' However, Playtex claims that not many women flush them anyway, so the biodegradable claim doesn't carry much weight. Plus, any plumber will tell you not to flush them!
Overall, the feminine-hygiene market isn't a growing one. Tampons aren't something a woman buys more of just because she likes them. So the only way Tambrands can increase sales is at the expense of the competitor. And the plastics industry.
A Consumer Reports article claims many women won't be led to change brands based solely on environmental conscience. In this very personal arena, most women like what they like for reasons other than environmental correctness.
I, for one, resent Tambrand's attempt to use this kind of ecospeak to shame women into being ``environmentally correct'' by choosing paper over plastic, even in their choice of tampons.