Proponents of a national film federation are getting closer to creating a business unit within the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
The concept of linking the Plastic Bag Association and the California Film Extruders and Converters Association and bringing them under the SPI umbrella is possible, Len Levy, chairman of Poly-Pak Industries Inc. in Melville, N.Y., said in a March 9 telephone interview. A recent PBA regional success boosted the effort's credibility.
Levy and PBA President James Funderburk constitute the negotiating committee that is exploring the possibility of a stronger organization for film extruders and plastic bag makers. No SPI unit represents the blown and sheet film industry.
``SPI is looking to create a film-based business unit,'' said Ron Bruner, SPI vice president of communications.
Funderburk confirmed that PBA-CFECA negotiators have had discussions with SPI, and would like to resolve substantive issues with the Washington trade group before PBA holds its annual meeting in May. Funderburk is manager of consumer services with First Brands Corp. in Danbury, Conn.
New York-based PBA — a national association made up of 62 manufacturer, converter and supplier member firms — also has held preliminary talks about becoming affiliated with the Washington-based Flexible Packaging Association. Those talks continue, but are informal, FPA spokeswoman Susan Dorn said March 10. ``The door's still open,'' she added.
CFECA of Corona del Mar, Calif., is strictly a regional group with membership of 150 extruders, converters and suppliers. Robert Bateman's roles as CFECA president and PBA environmental issues committee chairman indicate the groups' close connections. Bateman also is president of Roplast Industries Inc. of Oroville, Calif.
CFECA authorized Levy, who headed PBA from 1992-94, to pursue aspects of the national agenda on its behalf during PBA's November meeting in Dallas.
If the SPI talks stay on track, Funderburk and Levy anticipate presenting a plan to a CFECA delegation and then the PBA board, both on May 6. PBA members could vote on the plan during their annual meeting May 7-8 in Arlington, Va., or by mail; and CFECA members would consider it at a later date.
CFECA, which has sought a national organization since at least 1993, holds monthly meetings in both the southern and northern regions of California. Holding regional meetings allows most members to attend a CFECA gathering without being away from home overnight.
CFECA's regional approach served as a model for PBA's March 3 evening meeting in Elmhurst, N.Y., for members in metropolitan New York and portions of New Jersey and Connecticut. About 65 attended this first regional function for PBA.
Although many industry people are unwilling or unable to travel to national activities, they still feel a need to connect to others in their field, Levy said. The PBA regional group plans to meet again May 12 in the same location for a panel discussion on ``Extending and Converting 21st Century Resins.''
Meanwhile, CFECA's reach grows. Norma Fox, CFECA executive director, will conduct a June 4 meeting in Seattle to explore the idea of organizing a regional group in that area.
``There seems to be enough interest between Oregon, Washington and British Columbia to warrant testing the waters,'' she said.
In theory, CFECA's two main California zones, the Northwest and the New York area would form four regions within the proposed national film federation.
Funderburk said processors in Dallas; Chicago; Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; and perhaps Springfield, Mass., might form other regions, and there is consideration about Canadian involvement.
Plastics News' Washington-based staff reporter Steve Toloken contributed to this story.