Cleveland — Plastics veteran Chris DeArmitt is taking a stand against what he describes as a wave of misinformation hitting the industry.
DeArmitt has posted links to almost 50 plastics-related articles and studies on the website of Phantom Plastics, his self-owned consulting company. DeArmitt challenges the accuracy of many of these studies, showing what he considers flaws that unfairly blame plastics for a range of environmental issues.
"People have formed opinions with no reference to scientific fact," he said in a recent interview in Cleveland. "My kids were being taught lies in school. If we're going to save the planet, we have to have the facts.
"Paper bags have more environmental impact than plastic bags, but people can't differentiate," he added as an example. "Polyethylene and polypropylene beat biopolymers and cotton in those comparisons."
DeArmitt has more than 20 years of industry experience, including stints with BASF, Electrolux Frigidaire and Hybrid Plastics, and he has operated his own Cincinnati-based firm since 2009. His consulting clients have included HP Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co.
On TV, DeArmitt has commented on plastics-related topics on "60 Minutes" and has filmed an upcoming appearance for the Sky News network in England. He said he will be interviewed by the BBC next month.
DeArmitt is far from subtle with his defense of plastics and his critiques of what he labels as poor research. His presentation at a recent trade show was labeled "Finally the Truth! Learn about plastics and the environment." In November, DeArmitt posted an article on LinkedIn titled "How Environmentalists Are Killing Our Planet."
When he started critiquing plastics studies online, DeArmitt said he expected "a giant backlash" but to date hasn't received one. He added that in spite of having scientific evidence on its side, the plastics industry "needs a single voice," because environmental groups such as Greenpeace "have a lot of money to spend."
"We all want to solve these problems," he said. "But we need to find products that are truly sustainable."