Founded in 1937, the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. was a professional society representing individuals in the plastics industry. In 2010, the organization began doing business as SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, before changing its name to the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS). PLASTICS members represent the entire plastics industry supply chain in the U.S., including processors, machinery and equipment manufacturers, raw materials suppliers, recyclers and brand owners.
The organization produces the triennial global trade show NPE, one of the world's largest plastics industry events.
PLASTICS also publishes statistical reports on the U.S. plastics industry, including:
- The Size and Impact of the Plastics Industry on the U.S. Economy and
- Global Business Trends.
PLASTICS' Committee on Equipment Statistics also produces annual and quarterly reports on shipments in plastics manufacturing machinery.
As the Society of the Plastics Industry, the organization introduced the Resin Identification Code in 1988 before turning control of the Code over to ASTM International. This system was introduced to make separation of the many similar-appearing plastic resin types easier for plastic recycling centers across the country. There was no federal legislation or program to mandate these symbols, though many states have now adopted legislation that mandate its use.
If the public thinks that recycling is working, then they are not going to be as concerned about the environment
— Larry Thomas, former president of the Society of the Plastics Industry