Plastics faced a public relations nightmare in the early 1990s, with the material targeted by more than 500 pieces of legislation at the local and state level that sought to reduce its use or ban the material outright. To combat the negative public sentiment that fueled the legislative onslaught, the American Plastics Council (part of the American Chemistry Council) launched a $30 million national advertising and public relations campaign in 1992, with the first television ads on air in 1993 ending with the soon-familiar tagline, 'Plastics Make it Possible.'
The ads aren't back, but the slogan and a new PR campaign utilizing a mix of public outreach and social media was launched in late 2009, attempting to stem a new tide of anti-plastics fervor. Then as now, the industry faces an uphill battle. Polling in October of 1992 showed that Americans believed the environmental risks associated with plastic use outweighed the benefits of plastic usage. The Plastics Make it Possible campaign stopped the freefall in public attitudes towards plastics within 18 months, and within 36 months, an overwhelming number of Americans believed that the benefits of plastics outweighed the environmental risks....