Assistant Managing Editor
Toloken has been an Assistant Managing Editor for Plastics News since 2019. From 2014-2019 he was News Editor/International. He has hosted and produced the Plastics News Radio podcasts, and since late 2016, has handled coverage of politics and policy from a home office near Washington, D.C. From 2008 to 2014, he was a staff reporter for PN in Guangzhou, China, covering the industry throughout Asia. In 2006-07, he lived in Hong Kong and contributed on a freelance basis. From 1997 to 2006, he served as PN's Washington reporter. He is a journalism graduate of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Before joining Plastics News, he worked at the Daily Press in Newport News, Va., and as a freelance journalist for the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Ill.
Some states and local governments are pausing on single-use plastic laws during the coronavirus pandemic, but it's not universal. New York, for example, included an EPS ban in the state budget adopted April 2, although it doesn't take effect until 2022.
Social distancing in the factory. Temperature checks when the workday starts. Higher-than-normal absenteeism as employees worry about exposure to the coronavirus on the job. That's what plastics manufacturing companies are grappling with right now, as they work to both keep production flowing, particularly in government-designated "essential" industries.
With some state and local governments around the country closing nonessential businesses, industry trade associations in chemicals, plastics and recycling are urging Washington to name them critical sectors that need to be kept open.
Legislators in Maine voted March 17 to delay that state's plastic bag ban, as part of a bigger package of emergency measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. A few officials in other states, including the top Republican in New York's state Senate, are advocating similar action.
In the wake of China's ban on recyclable plastics, a new industry coalition wants to try to make polypropylene into the next PET and HDPE in the curbside recycling system. It's ambitious project — PP has some of the lowest recycling rates now in plastics packaging and there are economic headwinds — but industry officials say they see opportunities.