A public interest activist introduced a plastic bag recycling concept, called stripes2stripes LLC, aimed at helping industry address difficult environmental, legislative and litter-control issues on June 12.
Steven Joseph has no plastics industry experience, but he is chief executive officer of recently formed stripes2stripes in Tiburon, Calif.
``You have a serious long-term issue,'' Joseph told about 95 attendees at the California Film Extruders and Converters meeting in Cerritos. ``You need to think collaboration to survive,'' he said, adding that so far, he has seen ``little evidence of collaboration on this issue.''
While trademarked stripes2stripes is not a CFECA program, it could be a long-term solution, said Pete Grande, CFECA president and chief executive officer of Command Packaging of Vernon, Calif.
Over six weeks, Newport Beach-based CFECA helped Joseph refine the program, which has national aspirations but remains in the formative stage and has no endorsements.
Grande said CFECA, as a ``gateway for a new concept,'' is assisting in arrangements for stripe2stripe presentations, perhaps in July, to interested parties at the American Chemistry Council, the Film and Bag Federation and the Progressive Bag Alliance.
Under licenses, processors would print green diagonal stripes on plastics bags. Collaborators would distribute bags through retail outlets, set collection points and get bales to material recovery facilities.
While polyethylene and high density PE meet the program's criteria, organizers have not determined whether to include low density PE.
Organizers are considering a national publicity campaign, though they don't have funding yet, Joseph said.
Meanwhile, a separate program of the PBA, California Retailers Association and California Grocers Association is starting in California in response to a law taking effect July 1 and requiring many grocers and pharmacists to collect, transport and recycle plastic carryout bags.
Joseph said stripes2stripes is consistent with the new law, but ``in the long term, you need more.''
Bags from foreign sources will be acceptable ``if they meet the requirements,'' all bags will have to be identified with the green stripes, and incentives such as bag deposits shouldn't be necessary, he said.
``We shouldn't have to pay people to do the right thing,'' Joseph said. ``The whole go-green [movement] is building.''
While earlier publicity had mentioned Marin County, an area 30 miles north of San Francisco, as the location for a pilot program, Joseph declined to identify a trial site.
As a grass-roots campaigner, Joseph sought and obtained trans fat bans in multiple locations, including Tiburon in Marin County. He ran an anti-graffiti campaign in San Francisco beginning in 2000.
Several CFECA directors had varying opinions of the program.
``The concept is unique, comprehensive and interesting [but] may have problems being implemented,'' said Adrian Backer, president of Signature Flexible Packaging Inc. in Commerce, Calif.
The idea is ``very positive and complements other programs,'' said Linda Simpson, president of Western Concord Manufacturing Ltd. in New Westminster, British Columbia.
Anoosheh Mostafaei, president of Ship and Shore Environmental Inc. of Signal Hill, Calif., said the idea ``needs a lot of work.''
Stripes2stripes is ``an interesting idea, but there needs to be a lot of flesh put on the bone,'' said Kevin Kelly, CEO of Emerald Packaging Inc. in Union City, Calif.
Grande counseled patience. ``It would be a tragic mistake to talk down the program,'' he said.
Under California law, ``we as an industry have an obligation to increase recycling rates,'' Grande said. ``If we are not the ones to provide provocative ideas, whom do we expect to look after our industry? Environmentalists? Government? Let's try to change the face of our industry.''