After 17 years at the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., where I watched the plastics industry gradually surrender to the politics of irrational and uninformed chemistry, I could not agree more with Allan Griff's Jan. 22 letter expressing the frustration of so many of us and calling for a more vigorous industry response. Much of the criticism we are seeing is not only harmful to the industry, but seriously misleads the public and regulators, and is unfair to consumers. It bears all the hallmarks of being orchestrated for political or ideological ends.
As Plastics News has frequently pointed out, the industry needs to do more to defend itself. We need to agree on our messages and, in Mr. Griff's words, “get the messages out loud.” But how, beyond what is already being done by ACC and SPI?
One idea gaining momentum is the formation of a totally new organization that places sustainability front and center. Known provisionally as the Sustainable Plastics Association, it would represent all sectors of the global plastics supply chain from material manufacturers to end users.
The SPA would take the lead in setting sustainability standards and policies instead of leaving this important field to others outside the industry, as is too often happening now. It would demonstrate how sustainable plastics are the solution, not the problem. The industry would also be helping to implement the sensible suggestion in your April 2, 2008, editorial that instead of constantly fighting fires, we should be preventing them from breaking out.