Members' diversity, energy drive SPE unit
I would like to thank Plastics News for the recent story that focused on the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Division [``The little SPE division that could,'' Feb. 25, Page 1].
What makes our division successful is the volunteer efforts of a diverse group of individuals that carry out the mission statement: ``to facilitate the advancement of thermoforming technologies through education, application, promotion and research.''
Thermoforming encompasses many industries, techniques, materials and end markets. Our divisional board is very representative of this mix and, therefore, we are able to adapt to innovations in different areas of plastics technology. This ensures that we consistently provide relevant information to our members. In fact, many of our members are secondary members belonging to a vast array of industries that are directly and indirectly involved with thermoforming.
The board of directors is responsible not only for the highly successful annual conference but also for the creation and development of strong relationships with universities and technical colleges around the country, including a new network of centers of excellence. The amount of money donated for scholarships each year ensures a steady supply of talent into the industry and thus guarantees future employees for companies involved in thermoforming. Given the relative decline of manufacturing skills in today's economy, this is no small accomplishment.
I highly recommend readers of this magazine to consider joining our group to both enjoy divisional benefits and contribute to our continued success.
There is a wealth of untapped knowledge in the form of undiscovered ideas in the minds of our current and potential members. We stress the importance of knowledge capital. Innovation, creativity and mastery of techniques are what drive us on in the pursuit of greater returns. Our industry and our board are no different - it is the human element that gives us a competitive advantage.
Conor P. Carlin
SPE Thermoforming Division
PBA hire resonates poorly with reader
``Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves,'' cautions the Duchess in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Logical, then, that the American Chemistry Council first sent the sound - that it has hired a former conservation associate for the Sierra Club as director of the Progressive Bag Affiliates - and only later presented that sound as though it made sense.
A quick search on the string ``plastic bags'' on www.sierraclub.org's Web site brings back about 1,200 total results. Here's just one of those many results with unique brilliance from the Sierra Club [from its online ``Hey, Mr. Green'' question-and-answer environmental advice column by Bob Schildgen].
Question from Barclay in San Francisco: ``Hey Mr. Green, I challenge you. Pick your poison: paper or plastic?''
Answer from Mr. Green: ``They don't even need to ask this question in Ireland, South Africa, Taiwan, Bangladesh, or other countries with fees to discourage throwaway bags or with outright bans on the damn things.'' (www.sierraclub.org/sierra/200503/mrgreen.asp)
I would love to have been a Cheshire Cat on the wall during ACC's discussions about how to address the continuing perceived value distress pervading the U.S. bag and other segments of the plastics industry, driven by bad science, worse politics, and a plastics industry resin segment that forsook its leadership responsibilities of industry and materials stewardship over a decade ago. How did ACC rationalize their best choice as being someone from outside the industry, to put it kindly? Exactly what comprises her ``good, strong knowledge of environmental issues,'' [Plastics News, ``New PBA hires ex-Sierra Club associate,'' Feb. 18, Page 5] despite absolutely no claimed direct experience in plastics? Were there no equally competent, but plastics-experienced professionals from within the industry with a ``good, strong knowledge of environmental issues,'' combined with experienced skill in plastics industry advocacy?
These resin folks are the same ones who hired as head of the long-gone and never-productive Council for Solid Waste Solutions an experienced beer industry association exec. (To any readers who accuse me of being unfair with that criticism, I posit that had the CSWS been effective as the industry's first ``voice of reason,'' we would not have seen the demise of plastics' image with the public, as it has plummeted over the past three decades - locally, nationally and internationally. Yes - multinational megacorporations are responsible for what happens internationally.)
Who - inside or outside the plastics industry - is genuinely comforted that ``ACC has a $2.5 million campaign in California to educate people about the value of recycling plastic bags, and is providing money for state agencies to purchase recycling bins for state beaches''? Who - in his or her right mind - thinks this expenditure and effort are going to do anything really productive for the environment or the industry, and in California, of all places?
In Wonderland, Alice dreamed this dream: ``If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrariwise, what it is, it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?'' [Alice in Wonderland, Walt Disney's animated film, 1951]
Alice, you've got a great world and career ahead of you in plastics.
Comad Management Group
Lady Lake, Fla.