Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Referendum’s Success Shows APBA Doesn’t Stand Alone in Fight against SB 270

apba-logoEdgeSPI and the plastics industry have always supported the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA). Its efforts to educate lawmakers and the public about the economic and environmental dangers of plastic bag bans and taxes are vital to the continued success and growth of our industry. But we aren’t the only ones standing behind the APBA, as their recent success in qualifying a referendum to repeal California State Bill 270 shows.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced Tuesday that a measure to repeal SB 270 would appear on the ballot in November 2016, and that the law’s implementation would be delayed until voters have their say. According to county registrars, at least 555,236 valid signatures were needed to qualify the referendum by random sampling, and that threshold was exceeded Tuesday.

In addition to more than a half million Californians, a coalition of business and taxpayer groups has formed in support of the repeal measure, including:

  • Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers
  • American Forest & Paper Association
  • Calaveras County Taxpayers Association
  • California Taxpayer Protection Committee
  • Contra Costa Taxpayers Association
  • Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers
  • Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
  • Humboldt County Taxpayers League
  • Inland Empire Taxpayers Association
  • International Faith Based Coalition
  • National Federation of Independent Business
  • Orange County Taxpayers Association
  • Placer County Taxpayers Association
  • Retailers and Store Owners United to Rebuild California’s Economy
  • Sacramento Taxpayers Association
  • San Diego Tax Fighters
  • San Joaquin County Taxpayers Association, Inc.
  • So Cal Tax Revolt Coalition Inc.
  • Solano County Taxpayers Association
  • Sutter County Taxpayers Association
  • Ventura County Taxpayers Association

“SB 270 is a de facto multimillion dollar tax on California’s small businesses and shoppers. Voters should be thrilled to have the opportunity to reverse it,” said John Kabateck, California Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

In addition to suspending the law until after votes are cast in November 2016, qualifying the referendum will also save hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars that would otherwise be wasted on state administrative costs associated with implementation of the bill. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office over $700,000 would need to be allocated from the state budget to fund administrative positions from 2015-2018.

“SB 270 was never a bill about the environment. It was a backroom deal between the California Grocers Association and their union friends to scam consumers out of billions of dollars in bag fees—all under the guise of environmentalism,” said Lee Califf, Executive Director of the APBA. “California voters will now have the chance to vote down a terrible law that, if implemented, would kill 2,000 local manufacturing jobs and funnel obscene profits to big grocers without any money going to a public purpose or environmental initiative.“

“It’s outrageous that California legislators voted to kill California jobs just to line the pockets of big grocers and their labor union supporters. But the APBA is proud to defend these workers and we remain confident California voters will reject the bag ban scam at the ballot box in November 2016,” he added.

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

At NPE2015, Plastics Hall of Fame Program Honors Plastics Pioneers, Innovators, Educators and Leaders

At NPE2015: The International Plastics Showcase, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association and the Plastics Academy will induct nine global manufacturing innovators, educators and plastics industry leaders into the Plastics Hall of Fame, awarding them the highest honor bestowed by the plastics industry.

The ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 22 at the Linda W. Chapin Theatre in the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando, Fla., one day before NPE2015 officially kicks off.

This year’s Hall of Fame honorees hail from across the globe, and are receiving the honor of induction for a diverse array of reasons, achievements and contributions to the plastics industry as a whole.

John Beaumont

John Beaumont

John Beaumont of Beaumont Technologies, Inc., for example, was one of three founding members of Penn State Erie’s Plastics Technology Program, and has helped shaped the future of hundreds of plastics professionals by working as a professor at the same school for 25 years

 

 

 

 

 

Terry Browitt

Terry Browitt

Terry Browitt, director and founder of Terinex International, Inc. has also continually supported the cause of plastics growth and education through the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), formerly serving as the organization’s president and continuing to support it while founding and running Terinex.

 

 

 

 

William Carteaux

William Carteaux

2015 is also a year of milestones for the Plastics Hall of Fame. William Carteaux, president and CEO of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association will become the youngest-ever Plastics Hall of Fame inductee, for reinventing SPI by taking a business approach to association management and reenergizing SPI’s triennial trade show NPE, which will break all records for exhibition space this year.

 

 

 

Maureen Steinwall

Maureen Steinwall

Dr. Maureen Steinwall, president and owner of Steinwall, Inc. is only the second woman to ever be inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame, and received the honor for her outspoken advocacy for employee training and motivation, her leadership activity with SPI and her success in growing Steinwall, Inc. into a well-respected, profitable injection molding business.

 

 

 

 

Robert DeLong

Robert DeLong

All of this year’s nominees are known as innovators, and many of them have made contributions and inventions that are used throughout the plastics industry. Robert DeLong of Blasformen Consulting is a major pioneer in blow-molded dairy bottles like the kind that contain milk in supermarkets across the globe who also supervised the formulation of a best-in-class dairy blow-molding resin in the 1960s.

 

 

 

Eugen Hehl

Eugen Hehl

Eugen Hehl, co-founder of ARBURG GmbH & Co. KG helped grow his company from its humble roots in Germany’s Black Forest into a major international player in injection molding machinery, patented the “ALLROUNDER principle” for achieving up to 10 different working positions on a machine in 1960.

 

 

 

 

Edward Hunerberg

Edward Hunerberg

Edward Hunerberg of Uniloy Milacron is a leading expert in the plastics industry niche field of structural foam molding, known for his reputation for world-class customer service and an inventive streak that resulted in several notable improvements to structural foam molding machines industry-wide.

 

 

 

 

Manfred Lupke

Manfred Lupke

Manfred Lupke, president and CEO of Corma, Inc. and a leader in the field of creating equipment for manufacturing corrugated plastic pipe has registered 848 patents in countries around the world and led Corma to become an industry leader in the field of corrugated plastic pipe-making machinery.

 

 

 

 

Donald Norwood

Donald Norwood

Finally, Donald Norwood is the father of several industry-advancing technologies, most notably the loop reactor, used for ethylene and polypropylene polymerization, that he invented decades ago and has continued to develop and improve over the course of his career.

 

 

 

 

On March 22, all of these individuals will join their colleagues in the Plastics Hall of Fame, which resides at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, honored for their dedication and perseverance that have significantly contributed to the development and growth of the plastics industry. “We are thrilled to welcome this diverse group of industry innovators, from across the globe and across the global plastics supply chain, into the Plastics Hall of Fame,” said Don Loepp, a board member of the Plastics Academy and editor of Plastics News. “Each of them embodies the spirit of what the Plastics Hall of Fame was founded to recognize: leadership, creativity and above all commitment to the growth and development of the entire plastics industry.”

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show Highlights Plastics Recycling at NPE2015

A world-class fashion show featuring cutting edge, one-of-a-kind outfits designed by students from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) will kick off NPE2015, the largest and most sustainability-minded NPE in history.

Recycled plastic materials will take center stage at the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show at the opening ceremony of NPE2015: The International Plastics Showcase.

A SCAD student working on one of the designs that will be modeled at the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show at NPE2015.

A SCAD student working on one of the designs that will be modeled at the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show at NPE2015.

Produced by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, NPE2015 will kick off with a high-energy fashion show wherein every design and outfit modeled on the runway will be made from recycled, reused or repurposed plastics. The garments themselves will be based on designs selected by SPI from submissions by the students of the Savannah College of Art and Design’s School of Fashion, and will also feature 3D-printed plastic accessories.

“In 2012, when SPI expanded its mission to include the pursuit of zero waste, the idea was to engage its members in addressing the issues of sustainability  and recycling through sound solutions,” said Kim Holmes, SPI’s senior director of recycling and diversion. “The SCAD project demonstrates SPI’s commitment to zero waste by giving plastic materials more than one life, and using art, like fashion, as a tool for education.”

After they premier at the NPE2015 opening ceremony on March 23 in Orlando, Fla., the designs will be displayed throughout the remainder of the trade show in SPI’s Zero Waste Zone. This special section of the show floor will be devoted to the plastics industry’s mandate to reduce, reuse or recycle its materials. NPE attendees will have the opportunity to get an up-close look at the materials selected and used by the SCAD students and learn more about their inspiration for the designs. Commonly-used plastic materials that made it into some of the students designs include bubble wrap, plastic shelf paper and plastic bags.

A work in progress.

NPE2015 is both the largest and the most sustainability-focused conference in NPE history. Starting off NPE2015 with the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show is meant to send a message that eliminating plastic waste and finding new lives for plastic materials is a major priority for SPI and for the plastics industry at large. “The reduction of waste through reuse and recycling of plastics is central to SPI’s priorities as the nation’s only trade association representing all segments of the plastics manufacturing industry,” said Holmes. “Along with our members, we are working diligently to educate and inform consumers that most plastic products and materials have a life beyond their initial use, and that burying plastics in a landfill is burying valuable resources.”

Learn more about the Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show here. Learn more about NPE2015 here.

 

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Processor of the Year Award Validates the STIHL Approach to Automation, Employee Engagement

“For us, we can’t just hire people and put them in a job; we need to qualify them in order to do the job,” said Benjamin Hoffmann, manager of polymer technologies at STIHL Inc.

Benjamin Hoffman, manager of polymer technologies, STIHL Inc. accepts the Processor of the Year award from Plastics News Senior Reporter Bill Bregar.

Benjamin Hoffman, manager of polymer technologies, STIHL Inc. accepts the Processor of the Year award from Plastics News Senior Reporter Bill Bregar.

Plastics News named STIHL Inc. their Processor of the Year at their Executive Forum in Lake Las Vegas earlier this month. For Benjamin Hoffmann, manager of polymer technologies at STIHL Inc., who accepted the award on his company’s behalf, the occasion was cause for gratitude, but also for gratification. “For us, we wanted to see how we benchmarked against others in the industry, and see if what we’re doing was the right thing, or if there were others we could learn from. That was really why we participated,” he said. “Receiving the award is confirmation that all we’ve been doing has been in the right direction, and so we’re going to continue doing what we’ve done so far.”

When asked what distinguished STIHL processing operations from other processing operations, Hoffmann’s first thought was that company’s commitment to automation. “When you look at the size and the level of automation I think that’s where we had a lot of things to show,” he said. “The scope of the automation we have, and also the pure size of our operation were some of the main differences. We have about 90 machines. Others typically only have between 20 and 30.”

STIHL committed to the concept of factory automation early, sometime in the 2000s according to Hoffmann, but the negative connotations that often go with the term “automation” don’t apply to STIHL. “We have embraced the automation concept in order to stay competitive. By the end of this year we’ll have about 151 robots, but one of the remarkable things is that no full time employee has ever been laid off due to automation,” Hoffmann said. “Through automation, we make our processes more efficient, and give people the opportunity to train to get into higher paid jobs, like programming robots or maintaining them. It’s a huge efficiency gain for us.”

“It’s a big advantage for us because among our employees there’s no hesitation when you put a new robot on the show floor,” he added, noting that some employees even make suggestions for what can be automated next. “A lot of employees will come up and say ‘I’m doing this repetitive task, can we automate this?,’” Hoffmann said.

STIHL_PlantPhoto2STIHL has also operated an apprenticeship program since 1984, long before the manufacturing skills gap threatened companies with staffing shortages. “At that point the skills gap wasn’t that predominant,” Hoffmann said, noting that today the STIHL apprenticeship program looks much different from how it looked 30 years ago. “We have varied class sizes and apprentice programs. It used to be more of the mechanical side, but the focus has really shifted over the last two or three years to mechatronics, so really what we need are people that understand the mechanics, but also the electronics,” he said. “For us, ultimately we don’t get the skilled people out on the job market or straight from college or high school. We can’t just hire people and put them in a job; we need to qualify them in order to do the job.”

SPI operates its own workforce management tools to members (see more here) but the STIHL philosophy regarding automation as a means to increase efficiency rather than reduce head count, and its approach to educating and building its own workforce, should serve as an example of the ideal way to run a modern manufacturing facility. They remain among the most innovative, automated companies in the industry, but they still recognize that their most valuable resource is their people. Prioritizing the things that STIHL prioritizes goes a long way toward supporting the plastics industry’s continued growth and development, with an eye toward who’ll be running facilities not today, or tomorrow, but years down the road.

STIHL_PlantPhoto

“The companies that comprise SPI’s membership are on the cutting edge of their industry and are consistently innovating—technologically, operationally, environmentally—in a way that’s a credit to plastics,” said William R. Carteaux, SPI president and CEO. “STIHL makes bold, innovative investments in their operational infrastructure, all while showing as much respect for their business as for their employees, and serves as a model of modern corporate stewardship and a long-term commitment to growth and productivity. Their win of this year’s Processor of the Year Award is richly deserved.”

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

A Deep Dive: SPI Calls on Plastics Companies and Consumers to Prevent Marine Debris

FriendlyTurtle_AnimatedWebA report released by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of Southern California, Santa Barbara, and recently published in Science magazine provided an estimate of the amount of debris found in the planet’s oceans. William R. Carteaux, president and CEO of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, issued this statement in response to the report:

“The pursuit of zero waste is chief among the goals set forth by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association. We’re working with our members to establish practices and policies that will result in plastics products designed with expanded end of life and collection opportunities.

“Ocean litter is a global problem that threatens our health, our marine wildlife and the livelihoods of millions who depend on a healthy ocean. SPI and other plastics industry trade associations are working to combat these problems, both by taking actions to stop plastic materials from entering the marine environment and by promoting a change in attitudes to prevent the waste of plastic materials.

“SPI has always worked to support efforts to keep our oceans and waterways free of plastic debris. Nearly 30 years ago, our association helped organize the nation’s first formal beach cleanup as part of the International Coastal Cleanup Campaign, organized by the Ocean Conservancy. That event has grown from its humble beginnings on a Texas beach to a worldwide event that garners participation from more than 650,000 volunteers and removes millions of pounds of trash from beaches around the world.

William R. Carteaux, President and CEO, SPI

William R. Carteaux, President and CEO, SPI

“More than 20 years ago, we founded Operation Clean Sweep (OCS), one of SPI’s most successful programs. OCS is an industry stewardship program specifically designed to prevent resin pellet loss and help keep pellets out of the marine environment. The tools it provides to the plastics industry are being used in thousands of plants across the globe, and by all indications the program is working. Last year a study by the SEA Association documented an 80 percent decrease in concentration of pellets in the water from 1986 to 2010.

“SPI is proud to have contributed to these efforts, and continues to promote their use internationally, working with the American Chemistry Council’s Plastics Division to provide a royalty-free license to any global plastics organization that would like to implement the program. But we also support the cause of eliminating marine debris by supporting recycling and educating the public about the value of plastic materials. SPI works tirelessly to create new markets for recycled plastic materials, and to spur innovation that makes recycling plastic products easier and more widespread for all consumers and for all types of plastics, from polystyrene foams to rigid packaging to plastic bags and everything in between.

“SPI will continue to work and collaborate with other industry organizations to facilitate programs that increase recycling and eliminate the loss of plastic pellets and materials that end up in our oceans and waterways. By working together, we can drive the meaningful recovery of plastics products that will stop marine debris at its source.”