WASHINGTON - The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. has reshuffled its foamed polystyrene division, but in the meantime the renegade Expanded Polystyrene Manufacturers Association has started a $250,000 print advertising campaign. SPI held its inaugural meeting of the reshuffled section Oct. 24. Michael Levy, Washington-based executive director of the new SPI Foamed Polystyrene Alliance, termed the SPI group ``a pilot project work-in-progress.''
The section is now split into four councils: for block molders, shape molders, resin suppliers and extruded foam makers.
SPI, in part, organized the reshuffling to permit resin suppliers - whose membership costs are substantial - to focus their support of public issues management for plastics processors, Levy said.
``SPI has been viewed as unfriendly to processors,'' Levy said. ``This [alliance] is a template to bring customers and suppliers together, to cut across industry lines and find those things that are common to all, to let [processors] run their own show under the aegis of SPI. If it works, we might bring this idea to other parts of SPI, but we've tried it with the polystyrene end first.''
Eventually, a fifth market council could be formed for food-service and protective packaging, with a role of documenting how much PS packaging is reduced, according to Levy.
Chicago-based EPSMA was created in April by a group of block molders who were unhappy with SPI's marketing efforts for expanded PS products.
EPSMA's ad campaign features such points as the chlorfluorocarbon-free production and long-term insulation value retention of expanded PS foam.
``From roof deck to slab out-side a foundation to inside a wall, above grade or below, [expanded] PS performs for years and years,'' notes the copy on one EPSMA ad aimed at building contractors.
The intent is to promote expanded PS foam over extruded PS foam - something SPI cannot
do because it represents the interests of both, EPSMA members say.
``We've embarked on a program of national [advertising] placements through 1996 in a media campaign approaching $250,000,'' said Carl A. Wangman, EPSMA executive director. ``We are developing adjuncts for our members to use at trade shows. We are evaluating our role in Sweet's catalog, the bible of the construction industry.''
The first ad placements will be in magazines catering to architects and builders in concrete construction.
Wangman emphasized that EPSMA and its members ``do not criticize the SPI in its role of issues management.''
As a means of organizing the SPI section's reshuffling, a meeting was held June 28 in Washington to try to find mutual ground. Those involved included Leora Rosen, vice president of marketing for Polyfoam Packers Inc. of Wheeling, Ill., who attended as operating committee chairwoman of the shape molder-focused SPI Association of Foam Packaging Recyclers; Washington lawyer Jerome Heckman, representing SPI; and Mark Bradley, a representative of Arco Chemical Co. of Newton Square, Pa., and charter member of the SPI Foamed Polystyrene Alliance.
Rosen's husband, Mort Rosen, is chairman of SPI's former EPS Division and an executive board member of EPSMA.
Michael Wall, president of EPSMA, said of the meeting, ``We tried to see how we could put all our people back into SPI, but the dues structure allows only full dues.''
Wall did not attend the meeting, but sent a letter noting his concerns.
``We're going to take members away from SPI and that's not my intent,'' Wall said.
Wall, president of Premier Industries, a consortium of five block molding and three shape molding companies based in Tacoma, Wash., supports SPI's general plastics industry advocacy and issues management prowess, but has withdrawn his membership in SPI this year because its leadership is ``not listening'' and ``still tries to say it isn't marketing, but it is.''