Susan Freinkel's book Plastic: A Toxic Love Story should serve as a wake-up call to the plastics industry, said Robert Bateman, president of Roplast Industries Inc. in Oroville, Calif.
Freinkel discussed her findings at a March 13 dinner meeting of the Western Plastics Association in Norwalk, Calif. WPA is based in Sacramento, Calif. She had interviewed several members of the trade group from among more than 100 people she contacted in developing the 336-page book.
First, the book provides insight that is helpful in understanding people's views of how the “ubiquitous plastics” industry works, Bateman said in a telephone interview. Roplast Industries manufactures customized, polyethylene-based films and bags.
Second, Freinkel articulates “what is going on in China.”
Third, the book is a “wake-up call to those people looking after how our industry is handling” issues, Bateman said. He was referring to the American Chemistry Council, the Society for the Plastics Industry Inc. and oil companies and added that “the companies are doing the best” job of advocating for the industry.
WPA President John Picciuto observed, “For the most part, Susan gave a fair and accurate overview of some of the influences driving our industry.” Picciuto is western market manager in Tustin, Calif., for H. Muehlstein & Co. Inc.
“Susan's approach to the subject matter has an environmentalist focus but the book is written objectively,” Picciuto said via email. “I continue to believe that the WPA membership is very concerned about stewardship of the environment and is open to hear all sides of the debate.”
Freinkel's book devoted nearly four pages to 2008 comments of Stephen Joseph, lawyer for the San Francisco-based Save the Plastics Bag Coalition. Some of the thoughts relate to Joseph's observation about human behavior in tolerating litter and his viewpoint that the environmental impact of paper bags far exceeds that of plastic bags.
Freinkel “did not say anything inaccurate about me or the coalition,” Joseph said in a telephone interview. “She acknowledged that the coalition is right” on the paper vs. plastic question.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt of Boston published the book in April 2011.