Be A Plastics Zealot

In some form or fashion, we've all encountered people and business entities who have an anti-plastics bias.

In some form or fashion, we've all encountered people and business entities who have an anti-plastics bias. In my editorial in the March issue of Plastics Technology Magazine, I complained that not enough plastics processors are "fighting the fight" against those who seek to ban the products you make based on voodoo science. I think too many processors believe that they have neither the time, money, or skills needed to take on the environmentalists. But in reality, that's not the case, as there are a lot of things you can do to help your cause, things that require little or no investment besides a commitment to have your voice heard.

First, you have to realize that most lawmakers--be they local, state or even federal--probably don't have a bias against plastics in the first place. Most are trying to do the right thing. But lawmakers tend to be influenced by the loudest voices, and if yours is being drowned out (or if you're not speaking at all) well, you're going to come out on the short end of the stick when it comes time for them to vote on any bans.

So what's a processor to do? Get in touch with your congressman and invite him to your plant. Show off your equipment, your technology, tell him or her about the products you make and how they contribute to society or solve a problem. Introduce the lawmaker to your employees--these are voters, remember. Follow up that visit with a thank you letter or phone call to the lawmaker. Maybe post pictures about the visit on your website. Or if you recorded it, post it on youtube. Then do the same thing with someone else influential in a few months after that, and a few months after that.

It's not rocket science. In fact, it's Relationship Building 101. That's how Michael J. Lynch describes it. Mike does these kind of things for a living as vice president of government affairs for ITW in Glenview, Ill. But you don't a lobbyist or a million-dollar budget to be heard. What you need is commitment. Speak, write, record, post, blog...then do it all over again.

You know more about your business, and the science behind it, than any activist. Don't let them define our industry. Be a plastics zealot.