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October 05, 1998


Some factors offset recycling concerns

When it comes to recycling, Plastics News doesn't get it, again.

In your Sept. 21 Viewpoint, "Creative packagers should `think green," you commend food packagers for developing novel packaging, such as single-serve milk containers that are helping to drive up milk sales; high-end, high-barrier films that extend the shelf life of various meats and breads; and plastic beer bottles.

Increasing product sales and preserving product life sound like basic, fundamental packaging objectives to me.

Then Plastics News counsels, "Food packagers should keep up the good work [of developing innovative, convenience packaging]. But, in the environmental sense, they also should borrow a page from the medical profession, and vow to "First, do no harm.''

When consumers are convenienced, shelf life is increased, food waste is reduced, the cost of transportation is lowered, package breakage (with related food spoilage and personal injury) is virtually eliminated and the waste stream is minimized by source-reduced, multilayer packages that are more efficient than traditional materials in their manufacture, use and disposal, it is short-sighted and devoid of understanding integrated waste management and design for the environment to suggest that the novel packages ``first do harm.''

"Design for environment'' and ``think green'' do not mean ``design first for recycling regardless of other factors.''

Really, Plastics News, do you think any of the products mentioned above or we consumers would be better, more safely, or less expensively served had the novel packages been made from more-easily recyclable glass, metal or paper? Really?

George A. Makrauer
ComAd Management Group Inc.
Treasure Island, Fla.

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