The plastics industry is also fond of trotting out so-called scientific or "life cycle" studies, PPEC says, many of them commissioned by themselves, and others that have little relevance to Canada and Canadian circumstances. "There is no, repeat no, peer-reviewed life cycle analysis of paper and plastic grocery bags used in Canada that meets ISO standards. In fact, we would welcome a credible analysis that recognizes the environmental impact of manufacturing polymers from oil and natural gas and shipping plastic resin and/or bags all the way from coal-dependent China. That would be interesting."It's interesting to see the competitive arguments between plastics and paper. To add some perspective to the story, let me add that the paper industry rarely sees the sort of negative perception that the plastics industry is constantly battling. As an example, here's a feature titled "The dangers of plastic bags" on the Stroudsburg, Pa.-based Pocono Record newspaper's Web site. I see this type of thing every day. When's the last time you saw a "dangers of paper bags" feature in the mainstream media?
What paper makers believe
Solid Waste & Recycling magazine has a story that offers some insight into what some paper manufacturers think about the plastics industry. The story quotes from a news release from the Paper and Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council: "It seems like every time something goes badly for the plastics industry that it lashes out at paper." "We're getting a bit tired of this distraction campaign, frankly," said John Mullinder, executive director of the Etobicoke, Ontario-based PPEC. He says the plastics industry leadership "resorts to taking cheap shots at paper, using emotive and non-scientific terms such as 'environmentally friendly' (a meaningless term, according to the Canadian Standards Association and the Canadian Competitions Bureau) and 'tree-hungry' paper bags."
Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you'd like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at [email protected]