WASHINGTON — The American Plastics Council and the Society of Plastics Engineers announced an alliance April 14 that aims to turn SPE's 35,000 members into foot soldiers, of sorts, for the industry's image and political standing.
APC will begin a more formal education effort of SPE members about issues facing the industry, and both groups hope those professionals, in turn, will speak out more forcefully about the industry.
Details have yet to be worked out, but SPE Executive Director Michael Cappelletti said bolstering the image of plastic and making it the ``material of choice'' will be important: ``I guess some of us get tired of being labeled raiders of the planet.''
The effort could tap SPE local chapters to go to statehouses and offer technical advice and knowledge, but ``not so much to protest utility rates and those sorts of things,'' Cappelletti said. ``We stay away from that.''
SPE is a professional and technical association based in Brookfield, Conn., whose members are individuals, while Washington-based APC is a trade association representing companies on political and industry image issues.
APC spokesman Jack LaCovey said that part of the program will support the industry's grass-roots political efforts, but also important is getting SPE members to educate their communities.
``By educational, I mean everything from opportunities to get their highly educated and highly professional members speaking before Rotary Clubs and service groups, to activities that will go into the classrooms,'' LaCovey said. ``Don't look at this as strictly a lobbying effort.''
What shape the effort takes has yet to be determined, though. Cappelletti said a task force of from both groups will meet in the fall to identify one key area where the alliance can ``deliver something positive to the industry.''
SPE members also will participate in APC's state government affairs planning meetings, and messages for specific states and issues will be spread at SPE meetings.
APC President Ron Yocum will give the plenary speech at SPE's Annual Technical Conference in Atlanta this month, and SPE's Plastics Engineering plans to feature a page for APC activities starting in June.
``The individual commitment and knowledgeable involvement of SPE's members in local and state issues are vital if we are to have credibility in public discussions at the grass-roots level,'' Yocum said.
Before he took over as head of the APC in March, Yocum said he wanted to foster alliances with other industry associations.