NPE ’09: US plastics group to launch $3m/year outreach campaign

22 June 2009 21:32  [Source: ICIS news]

CHICAGO (ICIS news)--The US plastics industry is launching a long-term public outreach campaign with an annual budget of up to $3m (€2.2m) in an effort to counter product deselection and increasing regulatory challenges, top officials said on Monday.

Bill Carteaux, president of the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), told a conference audience that the internet-based campaign will be aimed at “engaging consumers at a completely different level than we ever have before”.

Carteaux said that at the consumer level, the campaign will focus on an internet-based approach to the so-called millennial generation, those born from 1980 through 1990 and now completing college, entering the workforce, starting families and buying first homes.

That generation lives online, Carteaux said, adding that that is where the industry must engage them.

“So far, the plastics industry has not been plugged in to the discussion,” and “we have mostly become engaged on a reactive basis, after the issue is a page-one item.”

Citing widespread consumer and legislative campaigns against bisphenol-A (BPA), phthalates and single-use plastic bags, he said those debates “have largely been unfolding online among the 50m millennials”.

He said the campaign also would target plastics industry employees to serve as local spokespersons and issue ambassadors as well as plastics customers in automotive, health care, packaging and other downstream industries to enlist their support.

Carteaux said that SPI already has spent $400,000 to research demographic issues underlying the anti-plastic campaigns, and he called on SPI members to help fund the $3m annual effort going forward.

He said he also is seeking funding support for the SPI campaign from major plastics customer groups, such as the computer industry and personal car product makers.

Carteaux said that the millennial generation is open to discussion and positive information about plastics, but that they must be engaged in the electronic environments where they live, including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

The campaign will be launched in the third quarter this year, Carteaux said.

Carteaux spoke to a luncheon audience at the 2009 National Plastics Exhibition (NPE), which is sponsored by SPI and runs through Friday.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Joe Kamalick
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