Safeguarding Our Homeland Security

War is not a laughing matter. And so it isn't appropriate in this column for me to include, as promised last month, some of the more lighthearted or stinging comments to a question we posed in PFFC's E-Clips electronic newsletter. Allow me to digress briefly…

Before the war started, senior editor Claudia Hine asked whether subscribers had stocked up on plastic sheeting and duct tape. The answers were diverse, ranging from simple two-word, emphatic responses to long, detailed objections. Considering the circumstances and the comments' possible effects, my gut tells me to save these comments for my editorial memory book.

The fact of the matter is, war is the gravest of matters. To get a sense of its tragic outcome, all one needs to do is turn on the TV where coverage of the war consumes most of the daylight and evening airtime. To greater or lesser degrees, many of you have had to deal with war's consequences in your jobs and personal lives, whether it affects a production line, a delivery, or most importantly, from a personnel standpoint with an employee, friend, or family relation leaving to join the war effort.

War affects us all, both personally and professionally, in different ways, and for this reason the Advertising Council, New York, NY, and the Dept. of Homeland Security in Washington, DC, have urged the media to publicize a public service announcement that advises how to take simple steps to prepare for possible attacks, as they do for other potential emergencies, such as a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake. A Web site has been established ( along with a toll-free phone number (800-BE-READY) to advise people how to increase preparedness, including learning about serious threats, making an emergency supply kit, creating a family communication plan, and keeping emergency phone numbers near the phone.

Whether or not you are concerned for your own or public safety, one thing is certain: These events will affect our industry beyond the plastic sheeting and duct tape businesses. Ken Branch, CEO of Stardust Technologies, Bellevue, WA, and speaker at the April 14-17 CMM conference in Chicago on “Economic & Marketing Trends in the Global Converting Industry,” explains: “In light of all that has happened since the tragic 9-11 events, there are now tremendous opportunities for packaging converters and suppliers to cross all lines within the industry… With Homeland Security making demands on packaging suppliers, there are many unexplored opportunities to consider.”

One has to look no further than the recent proposed bioterrorism regulations proposed by the US Food and Drug Administration to predict other regulations will be forthcoming. It's possible some or many of these regulations will prove burdensome to the packaging industry. The Society of the Plastics Industry, Washington, DC, already has challenged information collection, calling registration requirements an unintended burden. (See PFFC's “Legal Briefs,” March '03, p14).

While this initial regulatory effort is not a welcome addition to converters already overburdened with legal documentation, there is the real potential for legislation ultimately creating higher demand for converted security devices. In this way converters are safeguarding our homeland security, too.

For more information on the converting industry beyond this issue's contents, visit We offer content there you cannot find here, and it is updated weekly. Once there, be sure to e-mail your feedback to me, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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