Plastic Bag Association efforts to establish a Northeast regional unit may portend broader national coordination among large producers and small independents within the blown and sheet film industry.
PBA has built an initial database of 250 manufacturers, converters and suppliers in the metropolitan area encompassing New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. ``We need to reach out to processors who are regional in focus [and whose] size makes it difficult to participate nationally,'' James Funderburk, PBA president, said in a Dec. 2 telephone interview. Funderburk is manager of consumer services with First Brands Corp. in Danbury, Conn.
Len Levy, chairman of Poly-Pak Industries Inc. in Melville, N.Y., leads the organizational effort along with Holly Munter, executive director of New York-based PBA. Levy was PBA chairman from 1992-1994.
March is a target date for an organizational meeting of the new regional film group. Levy said the group will model itself on the California Film Extruders & Converters Association, based in Corona del Mar, Calif.
``Regional groups in the Northeast and possibly in the Midwest, Southeast and Southwest would be associated with the national PBA,'' Funderburk said. ``The preliminary goal is a group in which regional and national converters could participate equitably.'' The subject was on the agenda at PBA's fall meeting Nov. 19-20 in Dallas. About 75 attended.
Funderburk said initial discussions about a possible national affiliation have occurred with Ron Bruner, vice president of communications with the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., and Glenn Braswell, president of the Flexible Packaging Association.
``Neither represents the film industry,'' Levy said. Both groups are based in Washington.
Members of CFECA have pushed for a national venue for about four years. ``CFECA should cooperate with the PBA in moving along the process of creating a national association,'' Robert Bateman wrote in the December issue of CFECA's Die-Line newsletter. Bateman is CFECA president and PBA environmental issues committee chairman.
``CFECA stands ready to assist the converters" organizing the Northeast regional group, and "CFECA and PBA will coordinate discussions with the SPI and potentially the FPA,'' Bateman wrote. He is president of Roplast Industries Inc. in Oroville, Calif.
PBA has a membership of 62 manufacturers, converters and suppliers. The group was formed in 1990 to educate decision makers and consumers in an era when the industry was under attack. A predecessor group was organized in 1980.
CFECA was formed in 1973, has 150 members and generally holds monthly meetings in both Southern and Northern California. Norma Fox, CFECA executive director, estimated the nation's film industry encompasses about 3,000 businesses with most serving local or regional markets.