One of the plastics industry's largest trade associations, the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., is renaming itself the Plastics Industry Association and rebranding itself with a new logo and new look.
The change from the familiar SPI reflects the group's desire to better represent the size and importance of the industry, particularly when dealing with government, the general public and other non-industry audiences, said Bill Carteaux, president and CEO of the Washington-based association.
The changes include a new website design for the group, which may be most widely known in the industry for running the NPE trade show.
“We are the third-largest manufacturing sector and we want to represent it as such,” he said. “We talk to such a broad audience inside and outside the industry today.”
The plastics industry employs nearly 1 million people in the U.S. and is a $418 billion industry in the U.S. alone, the association said.
“When I or our advocacy team goes to Capitol Hill, we're known on the Hill as plastics,” he said. “I don't say I'm with SPI. I say I'm with plastics.”
The group will refer to itself either by its full name or with the word PLASTICS, in all capital letters, but does not want to be called PIA.
“I'm a huge person about branding — we do not want to become acronymized,” he said, adding that staff of the association plan to politely correct people if they refer to the association as PIA.
The association said its new logo is designed to represent collaboration between the six facets of the industry supply chain — brand owners, equipment manufacturers, material suppliers, moldmakers, processors and recyclers.
Including recyclers as one of the six facets is a way to emphasize how sustainability and recycling have become more important in recent years, Carteaux said.
That has included things like working with other industry groups to fund research on recycling PET clamshell containers, having industry companies donate millions of dollars of recycling equipment to university labs and working on zero waste initiatives, he said.
The industry lost a high-profile environmental fight in November, when voters in California upheld the state's ban on plastic bags.
But Carteaux said the increased investment in plastics production from shale gas and more of a focus on manufacturing in Washington give the industry chances to emphasize its contributions.
The new branding initiative includes what the group said is its first-ever tagline: “Better Industry. Better World.”
The new hexagonal-shaped logo includes a stylized “P” — for plastics — formed by the six sides.
“We spent a lot of time really trying to develop an icon that could stand alone and represent who we are,” he said.
The group also wanted to eliminate any confusion among industry employees with associations that have similar names, like the Society of Plastics Engineers.
The group had most recently been calling itself “SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association,” incorporating its original name of the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., dating back to its founding in 1937.
But Carteaux said the association believes it has long since moved away from being an industrial society, which was part of its original name because it began as a gathering of sales professionals.
“Our member-driven organization will continue to help the industry grow while promoting new technology through our trade shows and conferences,” said Jim Murphy, chair of the association's board and president and CEO of machinery maker Davis Standard, LLC. “At the same time, we're going to work to evolve the way people think about plastics.”