WASHINGTON — The Plastic Drum Institute has ended its affiliation with the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. and become an independent trade organization.
PDI members felt they could cut their costs and take actions more quickly outside of SPI, said Brian Minnich, who was PDI chairman when the group voted June 24 to leave. He also is operations manager at Chutz Container Systems in North Branch, N.J.
``We think we can do things a lot faster and a lot better for the plastics drum industry,'' he said. In SPI, ``it didn't feel like we were getting any bang for the buck,'' Minnich said.
The new group held its first organizational meeting in early July, and has hired an industry consultant. Minnich said going independent will cut costs from at least $112,000 in SPI dues to about $80,000.
An SPI news release said consolidation within the plastics drum industry reduced membership and ``led to an evaluation of the services needed by the industry.''
SPI spokeswoman Jennifer Dills in Washington said the group and SPI worked well together. She declined further comment.
The SPI statement touted several accomplishments of PDI during its 16-year run as part of SPI, including getting the Department of Transportation to accept plastic drums for shipping hazardous materials, and getting the United Nations to accept recycled resins in drums used for shipping hazardous cargo. DOT acceptance of the U.N. position on recycled resin is pending, SPI said.
While the industry consolidation reduced membership in PDI from 11 companies to four, Minnich said consolidation is not why the group broke with SPI: ``It didn't necessarily reduce the need for a trade group, but the people who are left feel they can be better served by another group.''
The plastic drum industry has seen significant consolidation recently. Russell-Stanley Corp. acquired Smurfit Packaging Corp. in November, giving it a large chunk of the market, and on July 23 bought New England Container, a Smithfield, R.I., drum distributor and recycler. Also, Greif Bros. Corp. bought Sonoco Products Co.'s drum units in December.