The ongoing debate about expanding the membership and scope of the National Association for Plastic Container Recovery offers a good opportunity to consider an ugly industry topic: material bashing. Processors and resin suppliers need to promote their products, of course. Frequently, touting the advantages of one product means comparing it with alternatives.
But promotion sometimes becomes hyperbole. One plastic becomes ``recyclable'' or ``green,'' while others, either by implication or declaration, are deemed less ``earth-friendly.''
Tom Rattray, Procter & Gamble Co.'s associate director of environmental quality, recently stirred up the plastics packaging pot with a proposal that HDPE bottle makers and resin suppliers join NAPCOR.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based association's membership is currently limited to PET suppliers, blow molders and their customers.
The combination should be a no-brainer for those involved, especially to HDPE blow molders. NAPCOR's experience in encouraging curbside recycling should give a boost to occasionally anemic supplies of post-consumer HDPE. Still, should NAPCOR expand, the industry must be cautious that an association that includes plastics' two greatest recycling success stories - PET and HDPE - does not degenerate into material bashing.
Encouraging curbside recycling is a worthy goal. Pointing out industry success stories is OK. But doing so while slamming other kinds of packaging plays into the hands of plastics' critics and competitors, and is deleterious to the entire industry.
Exason's legacy will live on
We note with sadness the death of E. Ron Evason, former president of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. of Canada, on July 27. Evason, 61, had prostate cancer.
Evason was a tireless promoter of Canada's plastics industry, and a strong agent for building links between SPI Canada and government and with other trade associations.
He encouraged members across the country to be proactive in their communities.
Evason's work to make the plastics industry in Quebec feel like a key part of the Canadian picture, with efforts including continuing support for the Expoplast trade show in Montreal, underlined his philosophy of inclusion.
He believed plastics is the industry of the future, and he helped create the Canadian Plastics Training Centre to provide firms with a means to upgrade their employees' skills to meet this challenge.
On a personal level, Evason helped establish the Canadian Prostate Cancer Research Fund and a prostate cancer support group in Toronto. He wanted some good to arise from his illness.
SPI Canada will change without Evason's leadership, continuing the evolution that began when it broke off from the Washington-based SPI. But Evason left an indelible mark on the association's history.