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Rubbermaid shrinking its product line

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Rubbermaid

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Kai Ryssdal: With apologies to Dustin Hoffman and all you fans of "The Graduate" out there, plastics might not be the sure thing they were back in 1967 when that movie came out. Today the costs are starting to outweigh the benefits, and one big plastic company, Newell Rubbermaid, announced plans to shed some products and raise some prices. From New York, Ashley Milne-Tyte explains there's a pretty clear reason why.


Ashley Milne-Tyte: Oil is a major ingredient of plastic. With oil prices rising steeply, Newell Rubbermaid wants to phase out a range of plastic-intensive products -- storage bins, for example. Lauren DeSanto is an equity analyst with Morningstar. She says it's a sensible move.

Lauren DeSanto: You know, when you're looking at home storage containers that are plastic with plastic lids and sitting on a shelf at a Wal-Mart or a Target, you know, one looks like the other.

And she says consumers go for the cheapest. David Doolittle is a spokesman for Newell Rubbermaid. He says when it comes to plastic products with growth potential, the company has no plans to make cuts.

DeSanto: Places where we're just competing on price and there's no real opportunity for innovation, it makes sense to exit those categories. We are going to be investing more into product innovation.

Take the company's latest food storage containers, he says. They're designed to slow the pace at which fruits and vegetables go soggy. Doolittle says with more consumers eating at home these days, any innovation that saves food and money looks appetizing.

I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace.

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