Dear Mr. Bobruk, I read your editorial titled, “Plastics are not here to stay” and could not help but recall the first time I heard the phrase, “The sky is falling.” The bottom line is that it's all about money, not quality.
One can still purchase wicker baskets and metal trash cans, but they cost more than plastic. In this cost-is-king environment, unless one is willing to get off their wallet, wicker and metal cans won't play a major role. I have plastic trash cans that are more than 10 years old, but being in plastics, I was smart enough to look for products manufactured with ultraviolet-light stabilizers included in the polymer. But you see, most folks don't know about UV stabilizers. All they saw was that one can cost about $12 more than the other, just like you did. Both can be recycled if you are willing to drive them to a facility that recycles plastics or metals. However, most folks aren't willing to spend $2 in gas or more to collect the nickel.
Now, before you attack the automobile, I know it cost more to keep two horses, unless you live on at least 30 acres and work from your home.
You missed the point, in my opinion, when you said, “If you are interested in the future lifestyle of your children and grandchildren, you [plastic processors] need to determine substitutes for your products.” Finding substitutes for plastics will have little or no effect in terms of securing the future of the children or grandchildren here in the United States. Our children, or at least our grandchildren, will grow up in a second-world country in terms of gross national product. Very little manufacturing will be done here because today the folks that control and own major companies just can't seem to make ends meet making $1.8 million a week. That's right — $1.8 million a week. So you see, it's all about money.
In the future, finding or developing alternate material(s) to replace plastic will ultimately end up being China's problem anyway. We'll stick with wicker.
Allen M. Caton
A&M Engineering Plastics Inc.