I just got my [July 25] copy of Plastics News and saw all those responses to my letter [“Plastics are not here to stay,” June 13, Page 6].
I am happy to have such a response, from all those who did not read the books I recommended. I received a call from a production man in the plastic packaging business who took my article to heart. I asked him why he was calling me. He said his biggest customer told him to find a cheaper way to package the product. This is not a small operation. They do millions and millions of units a year. I told him if I were the product's manufacturer, I would eliminate the blister pack, which is useless. His product would still be visible, but hang on a peg on a piece of cardboard. His response was the manufacturer wanted to keep the blister pack. Catch 22 — the plastic was the most expensive part of it.
If you think I am saying the sky is falling, you are missing the point. What would you do if you were allocated only 80 hours a week of electricity to run your plant? What would you do if you could not get the resin you wanted because the feedstock is allocated for higher-priority use? To assume that technology can solve every problem is foolish. Oil and natural gas are finite resources that are being depleted at alarmingly increasing rates. Don't believe me, read the books. What is happening to the cost of energy and oil will make bigger waves in your industry every year. You only have to look at the last four years.
One last thing: My parents and grandparents lived without plastics. Plastics are not necessary to live. They are a luxury!
Social implications of energy costs can be seen in the public's quick change away from the SUV and pickup truck. The more energy affects the man on the street, the more he will change his spending patterns. Those social changes are directed by his perception of his energy usage cost. We are at the beginning of a major social paradigm shift. Watch California and how it affects the rest of the states. It is energy related. Good luck to all of you.
Agency Fibers Ltd.