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Partnership for Plastics Progress responds to critics.

The Partnership for Plastics Progress (P3) has responded forcefully to a critical letter from environmental groups demanding that the industry focus on recycling to the exclusion of other approaches to solid waste management.

"We consider recycling to be an important part of a waste management strategy for our society," wrote Donald B. Shea, group vice president for Partnership programs. "It is not, however, a cure-all. We do not believe it is wise to promote recycling at any cost, costs that will inevitably be borne by the public we serve."

Shea's comments came in a letter to the Environmental Action Foundation, which made the demands on the industry in a letter to the partnership signed by a number of environmental and other groups.

The demands included a requirement that all rigid containers and film bags have at least 50% postconsumer content by 1995 and that the industry pay for the collection and recycling of postconsumer plastics.

The coalition of also demanded that the plastics industry give up any efforts to communicate with the public on the environmental benefits and value of plastics.

Shea rejected the demand, saying industry has "the obligation to communicate. If the public is to make the most appropriate decisions, those decisions must be based on facts. Our program will communicate the facts about the role of plastics in the environment; about the industry's significant and growing commitment to dealing with solid waste issues; about the reasons why so many of the products and the packaging we encounter in our daily lives are made with plastics," Shea wrote.

P3, a joint initiative with The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc., brought together 27 of the nation's leading plastic resin producers, downstream customers, and representatives of the broader plastics processor community. P3's mission is to develop and implement a strategic, industry-supported program for the responsible use, recovery, and conservation of plastics that addresses recognized public interests and concerns.

The partnership is committed through its Outreach Task Force to establishing a better dialogue between the industry and the public, the media, policymakers, and other key groups.

It has also undertaken to communicate the industry's program, including the economic and environmental value of plastics, to the general public, policymakers, and its customers, and gain their support for the industry's goals.

SPI president Larry Thomas, in a presentation to the SPE Executive Committee, said he hoped the partnership would form a link with SPE's 37,000 members.

"The partnership was formed to tackle what I believe is the greatest threat to the future growth of the plastics industry," said Thomas. "That threat is the alarming trend in anti-plastics sentiment among American consumers."

The Plastics Mobilization Committee (PMC) has been given the task of mobilizing all elements of the industry to participate in the program.

The partnership also includes an Advocacy Task Force to address major legislative, regulatory, and ballot initiatives through legal remedies and communications with policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels.

P3's Product Stewardship Task Force is advancing all options of integrated waste management, including recycling, new technology, energy recovery, and the development of credible life-cycle analyses showing plastics' environmental impact and benefits to the public.

"We are confident we have the programs, the resources, and the commitment to mobilize the industry, stop the decline of public perception relative to plastics, achieve our recycling goals, and progress toward an integrated waste management solution over the next 18 to 24 months," said Anthony J. Carbone, group vice president of Dow Plastics and chairperson of the P3 Coordinating Group.
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Publication:Plastics Engineering
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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