David will not spend much time on history, but rather on the near and slightly longer range future. The future that is becoming clearer with inevitable consequences and perhaps impossibilities unless…Dave will outline it all. Now the criteria for survival is changing and the needed path forward is not ‘business as usual’.
Dave’s consulting expertise spans resin making through the recycling industry, an unmatched breadth of knowledge and experience. From his acceptance speech (insert link**) at The Plastics Hall of Fame ceremony, you will see where Dave’s heart is. As he puts it, “The future is not inevitable in its consequences unless we let it be so. Inaction is a choice and usually not a good one.”
You cannot miss Dave’s presentation at PETnology Americas conference, June 25-26, Atlanta, Georgia.
Excerpt of Dave Cornell’s acceptance speak at Plastics Hall of Fame:
I thank the Plastics Academy and the current members for the election. No one accomplishes alone…
We are the good guys. We solve societal problems and make modern life possible. We innovate, create, and compete. And the public benefits. Plastic bottles do not cut tires or feet. Wet plastic grocery bags do not rip. Plastic packaging keeps food attractive and safe. Plastic dinnerware is sanitary. Hospital plastics save lives. Yet, the public discounts benefits and criticizes us for what it wants and enjoys. Some say ban us. Some call us polluters.
The 23 to 37 year old Millennials, the largest demographic group, tell us they do not recycle plastic much. They say it is too hard to understand. They say they are not sure they trust recycled plastic. They think they know about ‘carbon footprints’ and ‘sustainability’, which is unlikely, but they really do not know how plastics meet their needs. These folks are the future and they do not cheer for us. Plastics make their electronic ‘technology’ possible, but they do not appreciate our products. We are scary, non-authentic strangers to them. We must reach them.
The essence of Sustainability is efficient use of resources. That means use less, waste less, and do not terminally deplete. Recycling does that. Reused molecules are genuinely sustainable. And done correctly, recycling is profitable. Plastics make up 13% of municipal waste, but end up as 18% of the landfill. The 5% mismatch is insufficient recycling. The variety and uses of polymers makes recycling challenging. And while the postconsumer recycling industry is young and evolving quickly, we are too slow for the critics.
The plastics industry and its stakeholders will continue to compete. It is our nature. But, we need to cooperate to design for recyclability and for recycled content, to invest intelligently, and to cooperate to tell our good messages to the public. We need long term commitment and that takes leadership and money. Why? We really have no other choice if plastics are to survive and thrive.