Norwalk, Calif. — Western Plastics Association President John Picciuto has called for industry action to ensure "that plastic products, especially packaging, aren't replaced by inferior materials with worse environmental footprints."
"The plastic industry has been getting a lot of attention over the last few years, and we have reached a tipping point," Picciuto said at WPA's Jan. 8 meeting. "It's no longer just environmentalists who have concerns about plastic marine debris but consumers, brand owners, retailers and resin producers."
He acknowledged that "plastic is found in almost all species of marine animals from zooplankton to dolphins."
He called for new funding and technologies to "get value from plastic waste."
Across the globe, "folks are putting the impact of plastic on the environment up there with climate change, and world leaders are listening. Just last month in Geneva, The [United Nations] considered a global treaty for managing plastic waste, which would put binding requirements on countries."
Picciuto called for actions to:
• Reduce consumption and the single-use mentality in developed countries.
• Increase the use and production of recycled product.
• Improve waste handling in less developed countries.
"This isn't about litter anymore or recycling for that matter," he said. "This is about the impact of our products on the environment for their entire lifecycles ? from pellet to passage ? I like to say, and passage could be into new products, reuse or as an energy source. We have to stay informed."
WPA is a Sacramento, Calif.-based trade association representing the broad interests of the plastic industry in the western U.S. states and Canadian provinces. About 80 companies are members.
Picciuto has served as WPA president since 2012. He is western market manager for polymer distributor H. Muehlstein & Co. Inc.