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COPE, CONEG unit, PET recycler to close

At a Pack Expo eye-opener briefing in Chicago, analyst Tim Burns of Cranial Capital (Chagrin Falls, OH) opined that anti-packaging forces stirred up by "environmental hooligans" were now in retreat.

More evidence: The Council on Packaging in the Environment (COPE), whose primary activity was educating such "hooligans" about the benefits of packaging, shut down at the end of last month.

"Since the membership of COPE started 10 years ago, most of its members have established their own internal environmental affairs department," says COPE chairman Jerry Hayes, the director of environmental and legislative affairs at Sonoco Products. "So at this point, we feel we've moved forward in providing the education the consumer needed in understanding the benefits packaging offers." COPE's nationwide consumer surveys of packaging, solid waste and environmental attitudes will be taken over by some as-yet-to-be-selected educational institution. "They will continue," Hayes emphasizes.

Elsewhere on the environmental front, the source reduction office of the Council of Northeastern Governors also closed at year-end. Moreover, Signode's Plastic Recycling Alliance recycling plant in Chicago will close next month. It's being closed because virgin resin is cheaper than recycled post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate, says an ITW official.

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