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Hamish Champ is the editor of PRW. When not doinghis day job he finds time to ride his motorcycle, listen to Deep Purple and take his 12 year-old son to the cinema/park/football/pub...

Mixed reporting over plastics

Posted on 22 May 2015

We all know how innovative the plastics industry can be. We all know that plastics enhances life more than it detracts from it.

We also know the industry has those critics who knock it, often on a regular basis.

Some newspapers, for example, take up arms against certain areas of the plastics industry. Take the Daily Mail.

The Mail often foams at the mouth with barely concealed rage at how plastic is supposedly ruining our lives. In particularly it has it in for plastic bags and drinks bottles, if I recall.

Yet the next minute the same newspaper will extoll the virtues of a plastic-based product with barely concealed wonder and amazement – but conveniently forgetting to mention the word ‘plastic’ anywhere.

Take this Mail piece about a new flexible OLED TV screen being rolled out – literally, mind – in Korea.

It’s a competent story, and a positive one, telling its readers about OLED technology in TVs and how this compares with the [slightly] more familiar LED variety.

To help its readers understand and appreciate the versatility of the technology the Mail’s story features some video and even a photograph of a bendy screen being rolled up.

But nowhere does it mention the plastic element.

And this is puzzling. The Mail – like others in the mainstream media so quick to point an accusing fingers at plastics – often highlights the innovative aspects of the material’s contribution to aerospace, the automotive sector, entertainment and – of great interest to the paper’s ageing readership – medical products.

But it never seems to join up the dots. The Mail rarely if ever acknowledges that the material which it is so quick to berate can also a) bring great benefits to mankind (cue soaring, anthemic music) and b) can, in most cases, be recycled into new products.

Of course the industry is big enough to take criticism of its output on the chin and respond where necessary.

Yet the public’s perception of plastic can be damaged, sometimes irreparably, by such jaundiced coverage.

And that is more than a tad unfortunate.

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14 May 2015

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