CORONADO, CALIF.-The Western Section of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. presented its first-ever Community Involvement Award in Coronado, recognizing Kay Wetz and Paul Appelblom for their efforts to promote plastics in their community. Wetz, president of Wetz & Co. Inc. in Philomath, Ore., has been involved in the plastics industry for 30 years. She retired from Hewlett-Packard Co. in 1993. Since then, she has been active in the business she owns with her husband, William.
Last year, a display at the Oregon Coast Aquarium disturbed Wetz. Displayed were hundreds of plastic items picked up from Oregon Coast beaches, along with a sign that said PLASTICS in a red circle with a line drawn through it.
``I took offense to that display,'' said Wetz, who went to the aquarium administrator to protest. Because of her persistence, the Aquarium board of directors removed the display. A new exhibit showed how plastics contributes to the health and safety of life at the aquarium.
Wetz also organizes tours to Gage Industries, a custom thermoformer, and Molded Container Corp., a custom injection molder.
She also helped organize the Oregon Coast beach cleanup project that attracted 6,200 people who collected 70,000 pounds of debris in one day. Wetz also enlisted volunteers from the plastics industry in Oregon to man a booth at the Oregon state fair. Plastics firms donated money and gifts to the project that had 6,000 people visit the booth to learn more about plastics.
Appelblom, president of Jatco Inc. in Union City, Calif., is also a community activist for plastics in the Bay area where he lives. He organizes school programs to introduce schoolchildren to the plastics industry and the opportunities it provides.
He gives high school students a glimpse of the career opportunities in the plastics industry. Appelblom also provides tours to politicians so they can see first hand what plastics processing is all about and what plastics contributes to the economy of California.
``I get calls from city council people all the time saying, `we want to know what plastics is and how it affects our community,'" said Appelblom. ``This program has worked out well for us and them.''