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In spite of what the general masses believe, Willem DeVos, CEO of the Society of Plastics Engineers, is a defender of what he says is the “best choice an OEM can make.” DeVos gave the keynote at the recent SPE Thermoforming Conference in Grand Rapids, MI.

Clare Goldsberry

October 12, 2012

2 Min Read
Continuing bans, bashing and trashing of plastic, has SPE’s CEO speaking out

While we in the industry understand the benefits of the many uses of plastic in our everyday life, people generally underestimate – or are not even aware of – the benefits of this valuable material.  “Plastics will contribute to the prevention of food shortages by keeping food safe, maximizing crop yields, enabling logistics of ‘right portions’ as demand increases for one-person portions, and provide innovative possibilities such as floating greenhouses,” said DeVos. “Plastics help combat the shortage of drinking water by creating drinking water through various devices, and replacing old piping systems or putting in new plastic pipe grids to get water to placed that don’t have it.”

DeVos noted that in spite of what the general population believes, plastics are quite eco-friendly, with only about 4% of the petroleum produced used for plastic. “That small 4% is helping to reduce number of barrels we need for transportation and energy,” he noted. “Mahindra in India is producing a thermoformed car from ABS and ABS/PC and PMMA. Samsonite makes a thermoformed ‘Cosmolite’ luggage that is 30% lighter than typical luggage made from other materials. Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner has increased the use of plastics by 50% and will realize a 20% fuel savings.”
ltimately, DeVos concluded, “plastics enables ground-breaking technology, improves healthcare, revolutionizes the way we live and improves our quality of life. Plastic is the most sustainable solution we have.”

Plastic has its cheerleaders, and it behooves those of us who understand the benefits of plastics and the reality vs. the hype, to help our friends and neighbors, our city council people, and the local school children understand all this as well. We have a duty to the industry and to our future to see that correct, scientific information is disseminated to those who would shout the hype about the negatives of plastic and demand a “plastic-free” world.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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