Friday, April 26th, 2013

Busting Myths About Plastics Can Save American Jobs

A planet this beautiful deserves to be treated fairly. (Photo: NASA)

A planet this beautiful deserves to be treated with great care, and fairly. (Photo: NASA)

In stark contrast with its good intentions, the annual April 22nd Earth Day celebration never fails to resurrect many of the myths about plastics. Sadly, this year again saw many of the tired old plastics myths rise like zombies and stumble, maybe not through your town, but surely through the media.

Even the real science that clearly shows these fanciful tales are nothing but myths is not enough to kill them. Science is simply and conveniently ignored.

These zombie myths are far from harmless, however. For starters, they needlessly alarm the public. That’s bad enough, but the resulting hysteria then gets twisted in a way that directly threatens American manufacturing jobs in the plastics industry. Does anyone doubt we need more good jobs, not fewer?

These persistent plastics myths spring from and are kept alive by a variety of sources. Among the loudest are:

  • Environmental activists and non-government organizations promoting their agendas,
  • Journalists that fail to do basic research and simply repeat the myths,
  • Businesses with a competing alternative material, or,
  • Retailers that give in to the outcries of alarmist special interest groups.

The links below describe some of the more commonly heard myths about plastics. Click on them to see the facts about the safe use of plastic products, facts provided by experts in government, academia and industry. 

Common Myths About Plastics

  1. Using plastic food containers or wraps in microwaves is dangerous.
  2. Freezing water in plastic bottles releases dioxins into the water.
  3. The number on the bottom of plastic cups, bottles and containers informs consumers about how to use a product or package.
  4. Plastic food wraps and packages are made with phthalates.
  5. Six-pack rings (beverage can binders) are a hazard to wildlife.

The myth mongers seem oblivious to the negative effects of their story telling, such as how they can wipe out well-paying jobs in America’s third-largest manufacturing sector—plastics. It is far more likely that they wear blinders by choice as they promote their agendas.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the zombie plastics myths abruptly dropped in their tracks like movie zombies often do. Not likely. In real life, the myth mongers work hard to keep the zombie plastic myths circulating. For many  it’s how they make their living. However, since facts are the best antidote for myths, arm yourself with the Plastics Champion described below.

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Have a Database of Facts About Plastics at Your Fingertips

Plastics-Champion-larger-logo-3SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, in cooperation with seven other plastics-related associations, has published an online database of factual information about plastics called the Plastics Champion, and it’s yours to download or access online at no cost. You can find it  here: www.plasticschampion.org. For the iPhone and iPad, it’s free on the Apple App Store or via iTunes. Search ‘Plastics Champion’ or use this link. An Android app is being developed, but for now the website is mobile browser friendly. With  the Plastics Champion at hand you may actually enjoy your next encounter with a plastics myth spinner.

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