A California-based consulting firm is launching an umbrella Plastics Stewardship Council to address concerns about use and reuse of plastics.
NewPoint Group Inc. will try to bring together industry, environmental groups and governments concerned about plastic waste issues to craft solutions that it said will get beyond the ``highly antagonistic'' debates that have stalled progress.
Some industry officials have praised NewPoint's initiative, but another recent effort with the same goal - the group Businesses and Environmentalists Allied for Recycling - collapsed because it could not resolve fundamental disagreements between industry and environmentalists about how to reverse slides in container recycling.
NewPoint is not new to plastics issues. The group is closely involved in the California Integrated Waste Management Board's white paper on plastics, although the waste board does not have a role in PSC.
NewPoint's new proposal grew from the consulting firm's recognition of plastics industry fragmentation in addressing issues of substance.
NewPoint's preliminary, 15-page business plan for PSC has membership categories for resin makers, plastics processors, retailers, recyclers, recycling end users, associations and government agencies.
Annual dues, based on sales, will range from $2,500-$7,500, with NewPoint providing management services.
``The plastics industry is under attack,'' James Gibson, NewPoint director, said in an interview at the company's Sacramento offices. PSC aims ``to identify, develop and implement policies and programs at the national, state, local and company levels that result in responsible use of plastics.''
PSC wants to cut across economic links from manufacturers through retailers and consumers and cover all types of resin and packaging.
``Our challenge is to provide a needed supplement'' to current dialogues and not be perceived as competition for members, Gibson said. Too often, ``legislators and policy decision makers lump all plastics together.''
Robert Bateman, president of Roplast Plastics Inc. in Oroville, Calif., introduced the idea at the Film & Bag Federation spring conference, which was held April 27-29 in St. Petersburg Beach, Fla. FBF is a unit of the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
``The concept of setting up a broadly based, independent body to establish and recommend policies for dealing with the environmental issues that the success of plastics has raised is sound,'' Bateman said in an e-mail.
``To my knowledge, individual film and bag manufacturing companies and the industry associations are planning to take a closer look at the timely NewPoint initiative.''
Wendy Pratt, NewPoint senior associate, presented the concept at EPS Expo 2003, held April 30-May 2 in New Orleans.
Among other initiatives, PSC plans to hold an annual international symposium bringing together decision makers, researchers and company representatives ``to discuss and promote new initiatives in plastics and showcase emerging plastic technologies and policies from around the world,'' according to the plan.
PSC is soliciting charter members now and plans to begin operations June 1 with a first-year fiscal budget of $260,000.