SPI launched its new charitable foundation — the Future of Plastics FoundationSM to improve the public’s understanding and appreciation of the plastics industry’s many product applications.  The first major project of the Future of Plastics FoundationSM was Fantastic Plastics Works, a 5,000 square foot exhibit showcasing the full scope of the plastics industry — from chemistry to design to manufacturing.

For several years, Fantastic Plastics Works was the plastic industry’s primary public education initiative to teach lawmakers, regulators and the general public about the contributions plastics make to advance healthcare, transportation, construction, electronics, national security and modern living in general. In addition, it served to introduce kinds to careers in science and engineering.

New Zealand Humanitarian Appeal

The 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island on Tuesday toppled buildings, buckled streets, and caused hundreds of deaths (100 confirmed with more than 225 people missing as I write this). The Christchurch community needs our industry’s help. In fact, our colleagues in New Zealand have directly appealed to the U.S. plastics industry for a very critical, specific need: portable toilets.

Here’s How We Can Help

From the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti, to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike on the U.S. Gulf Coast and the 2004 tsunami and earthquakes in Asia Pacific, I have been extremely proud of the way my colleagues in the plastics and chemical industries have lent a generous hand with both monetary contributions and in-kind donations of the supplies that our companies manufacture: Bottled water, water purification chemicals and kits, PVC pipe to rebuild water and sanitation systems, water storage containers, plastic houses and other building supplies, personal care products, medical supplies and even prosthetic limbs.

The Christchurch earthquake is no different and SPI is spearheading an industry-wide effort to produce and ship 4,000 portable toilets to New Zealand. While one portable toilet manufacturer has already graciously offered to manufacture and ship 50 units at no cost, I am asking the rest of the industry needs to help fund the overall effort. I am appealing to you so that we can raise the $1.5 million necessary by next week – in both cash donations and in-kind contributions of resin and colorant. Be assured that 100% of your donation will be used directly for this effort’s production and shipment costs only.

Act Now: Quick, Easy Ways to Participate

Please click the “Donate” button above to securely make a donation using a credit card. If you wish to make a cash or in-kind donation directly without going through the website, please call my assistant, Susan Douglas, at 202.974.5224 or email her at sdouglas@plasticsindustry.org.

Consumer Outreach Initiative

We want consumers to choose plastics with confidence. For too long, the plastics industry has not directly engaged consumers. We need to change that — and we will with your help the form of a tax-free donation.

Engaging Our Consumers: A New Dialogue About Plastics

As a current initiative of The Future of Plastics Foundation, SPI is in the early stages of a broad-based initiative to directly engage consumers in a dialogue that addresses questions regarding the safety and sustainability of plastic products. This initiative will help consumers and lawmakers make informed decisions about plastic products in order to avoid:

  • Jeopardizing public health and safety.
  • Exacerbating our nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Increasing transportation costs.
  • Stifling advancements in medicine.
  • Creating a global food shortage.

SPI has already invested in preliminary research, including national surveys and focus groups, to evaluate consumer attitudes and test messages. This research supports engaging the millennial generation (consumers age 18 – 28) and policy decision-makers in the very place where the debate is already occurring—the Internet. Plans are underway to launch a new Web site specifically designed to connect with these key audiences and to use social media to participate in the conversations taking place.

Why the Online Environment Matters

Not only is the online environment the place where most millennials “live,” it is the place that influences policymakers, mainstream media and others who shape attitudes about our industry. Did you know:

  • 60 million Americans use search engines multiple times daily.
  • 80% of the most influential Americans go online to post opinions or join discussions.
  • 45% of journalists use blogs for story ideas.
  • 84% of journalists use blogs as a primary or secondary source of information.
  • 73% of U.S. Congressional staffers prefer online resources for policy analysis and information.

If SPI doesn’t engage online to inform and educate key audiences about the benefits of plastics and its role in medical innovation, protecting public health, energy security and a sustainable environment, the debate continues without the benefit of our insight, expertise and perspective.

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