SPI’s Carteaux touts heightened collaboration, advocacy for plastics

By: 
February 26, 2013


Anaheim, CA—True to its new mission statement, Bill Carteaux, president and CEO of the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI; Washington, DC), stressed the trade group's commitment to end-of-life solutions for plastics during a Western Region trade luncheon held the same day SPI appointed a leader to its new recycling initiative.

Speaking on Feb. 13 at the Anaheim Marriott, Carteaux addressed a packed room, with many of those in attendance also participating in UBM Canon 's collocated manufacturing shows, including Plastec West , at the adjacent Anaheim Convention Center (Feb. 12-14; UBM Canon is the parent company of PlasticsToday).

SPI Bill Carteaux
SPI President and CEO Bill Carteaux addresses attendees of a Western Region Luncheon on Feb. 13 in Anaheim, CA.

A few hours before Carteaux's presentation, SPI announced the appointment of Kim Holmes, most recently principal consultant at 4R Sustainability, where she served clients in the product manufacturing and recycling industries, to head up SPI's new recycling initiative. Prior to work at 4R, Holmes served as material supplier SABIC's advanced marketing manager, promoting its post-consumer recycled plastics portfolio.

Delivered a day after President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, Carteaux offered up a "State of the SPI" address, saying he wants plastics to be considered as "the preferred sustainable material," a description that challenges many of the current, widely held misconceptions about the material that are promoted by mis- or under-informed consumers.

"We can't allow the consumer to drive us out of business when they don't have all the scientific facts," Carteaux said.

Carteaux noted that more effective advocacy of the industry will be supported by greater involvement by brand owners, part of a push launched at NPE2012 to get large plastic-consuming brand owners a seat at the SPI table. Carteaux said the initiative gives brand owners full voting rights and spots on the board, with large multinational companies like 3M, Coke, John Deere, Pepsi, and more already signed up.

Carteaux also highlighted several areas being closely monitored by SPI and related trade groups, including:

Trans Pacific Partnership : Negotiations for the newest round of the trade agreement will begin in March. Carteaux said that of the 12 countries involved, U.S. plastic exports in 2011 totaled $32 billion.

Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA): SPI and others, including the American Chemistry Council (ACC) have long advocated for reforms to TSCA, which was passed in 1976 and provides the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to review and regulate chemicals in commerce. "TSCA really needs to be reformed," Carteaux said. "We truly believe that something will get done on a bipartisan basis this year if not next." Carteaux said SPI and others want to ensure that any new regulatory burden isn't shifted to processors. [Louisiana Senator David Vitter, who is sponsoring a reform bill, was most recently said to be considering a "piecemeal" approach , according to press reports.]

Regulatory challenges : Carteaux cited a MAPI study looking at the potentially negative effect of regulations on manufacturing, noting that since 1981, 40,000 regulations have been put in place. "I'm not saying all regulations are

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