Let's call this our three cheers column. I'll highlight a few good-news stories featured recently in The Plastics Blog:
First, the Iowa Grocery Industry Association deserves a round of applause. The trade group, aware of battles over single-use bag taxes and bans around the country, is taking a proactive approach with a program that makes customers aware of plastic bag recycling opportunities.
The Build with Bags program has four goals:
* Double the amount of plastic bags recycled over a 24-month period.
* Reduce consumption of plastic bags.
* Increase use of reusable bags.
* Encourage purchases of furniture and equipment made from recycled plastic through a grant program for parks and schools.
The program says it offers a meaningful alternative to the banning of plastic bags, a practice ... shown to have a number of negative, unintended consequences.
Absolutely on target, IGIA. I hope the industry cooperates and consumers get the message that they should be reusing and recycling plastic bags not littering or throwing them in the trash.
Next, a cheer for Essel Propack Ltd., which on Jan. 11 hosted Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., at a plant in Danville, Va.
Warner paid a visit to the plastic tube maker to talk up a bill he says would bring jobs to the U.S. Warner's bill is aimed at making economically distressed areas more competitive internationally.
Some readers will consider it ironic that the senator visited a plant with a parent in Mumbai, India. But it seems Warner gets it. He helped recruit Essel Propack when he was governor of Virginia. He knows that manufacturers can set up shop anywhere, and his aim is to help them choose the U.S.
Warner's not up for re-election this year. But with midterm elections in November, we can expect more Capitol Hill visitors in plastics plants. I hope more companies host visits like this. It's a good opportunity to raise the profile of the industry and to get out the word that manufacturing still plays an important role in the U.S. economy.
Finally, hurray for Plastic Logic LLC, the company that wants to use plastics in place of glass for e-readers. This month the company made headlines globally when it introduced its first product, the Que, at the Consumer Electronics Show. CEO Richard Archuleta called the introduction the birth of a new market category [and] a milestone in the evolution of plastic electronics.
Sounds pretty big, doesn't it?
Que was designed to mimic paper, but without the weight and clutter. It's the size of a pad of paper, about one-third of an inch thick, and weighs about a pound thanks to the lightweight PET screen.
Will e-readers replace paper? I don't think so, at least not any time soon. But as the technology improves and the cost comes down, it will be tough to beat this technology. It's plastic, it's sustainable, and it's getting close to being just as easy to handle as paper.
Loepp is managing editor of Plastics News and author of The Plastics Blog.
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