Printer Friendly

Still the next big thing.

If this month's cover story (p. 56) has a familiar ring to you, it's because this is not the first time the big OPP breakthrough has been announced. In fact, the last time experts excitedly proclaimed the arrival of oriented polypropylene bottles was 1989. If you've been around long enough, you know The Next Big Thing in Plastics might mean the next decade or even the one after that.

The plastics industry grew up with a Jack-the-Giant-Killer attitude: We can do anything!" Maybe so, but sometimes it takes a while. How many of yesterday's "breakthroughs" have yet to happen? We're still waiting for plastic beer bottles to hit the big time. Plastic cans are another concept with a big future--that's still in the future. As for shipping drums, experts could smell a breakthrough coming way back in '87. Well, 25 years later, plastic drums hold less than 15% of the market, says Freedonia Group in Cleveland.

Automotive plastics have seen many "revolutionary" developments but few real revolutions. Progress comes mostly in a series of small steps. Plastic-skinned cars arrived with fanfare in the 1980s with the Pontiac Fiero and Chevy Lumina van. Today, the only all-plastic skins are on niche vehicles like the Corvette and Viper and on the midget Smart car in Europe.

In construction, where is the plastic house we were promised? GE's 1989 plastics demonstration house was way ahead of its time. It's now closed to visitors.

What else? Plastic pallets are a great idea but only 7% of the market worldwide. Plastic paper? Barely a wrinkle in that gigantic market. Major appliance panels? They've hardly scratched sheet metal. Biodegradable plastics? They'll brew a bit longer. And plastics recycling as a way of life? Some dreams are evergreen.
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gardner Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Editorial
Author:Naitove, Matt
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:May 1, 2004
Previous Article:Injection molder returns to hydraulics.
Next Article:Velcro-style fasteners can be molded into parts.

Related Articles
The first step is to identify minority talent pool.
Pulitzer Prize Editorials: America's Best Editorial Writing, 1917-1993.
Sassy pages add spice to bland paper.
I can teach any student to write opinion.
Looking to catch the next big wave.
Consumer newsletter expert Jeff Greenberg has seen the future and it's "healthy".
Which editorial will be your big red tomato?
A lesson in humility, category five level: an ode to the value of preparation ... and prudence.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |