"The Plastics Industry Would Like A Word With Your Kids"

"School campuses are a new battleground in an increasingly bitter brawl over plastic’s impact on the environment".

"WARREN, Mich. — Wearing a lab coat, Eve Vitale asked a chemistry class at Warren Mott High School if anyone had heard anything bad about plastics. Hands shot up. It doesn’t degrade, said one student. It hurts the environment, said another.

But “that’s not really the plastic’s fault,” said Vitale, chief executive of the Society of Plastics Engineers Foundation, a group of industry professionals. “That’s the fault of humanity.” After warning what a “mess” it would be in supermarkets and hospitals without plastics, Vitale instructed that the plastic pollution crisis could be addressed through stepped up personal responsibility, product innovation and improvements in recycling.

School campuses are a new battleground in an increasingly bitter brawl over plastics, as groups like Vitale’s seek to improve the reputation of a material that has become infamous as an environmental menace. The efforts are partially funded by companies involved in or dependent on fossil fuel production, through donations and conference sponsorships. Plastics manufacturing involves large amounts of oil and natural gas. Some of these companies see plastics as an opportunity to continue growing as demand for gasoline and diesel dissipates amid the rise of electric vehicles.

Vitale’s group dispatches its “PlastiVan” program throughout the academic year, with its team of plastic evangelists talking up the wonders of polymers to young audiences."

Evan Halper reports for the Washington Post February 14, 2024.

Source: Washington Post, 02/15/2024