Honoring the best of the worst in 2013

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Ah, 2013. This may be a year we’d rather forget.

Miley Cyrus was a serious candidate for Time magazine’s Person of the Year, and that was mostly for something called twerking.

The most memorable TV moment was an awkward 34-minute break during the Super Bowl, when even the gabbiest color analysts ran out of things to talk about.

Is the news all bad? Of course not. The Dow passed 16,000. The North American plastics industry resumed its climb back from the depths of the Great Recession. And Plastics News — once again — gets to share its irreverent annual Plastic Globe awards with you, our loyal readers.

BEST APRIL FOOL’S DAY PRANK AWARD: To environmental group 5 Gyres, which on April 1 posted this on its Facebook page: “News Flash! 5 Gyres enters into million dollar partnerships with Dow Chemical, Save The Bag Coalition, and Coca-Cola. We will be suspending any and all policy work on marine debris (previously called plastic pollution) until further notice.”

There were a few double-takes, but most readers figured out the joke pretty quickly.

SAY WHAT AWARD: Back on Feb. 4, we all did a double take when Jabil Circuit Inc. announced that it was buying Nypro Inc.

ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER AWARD: During its news conference at the Detroit auto show, Daimler AG brought in musician Bruce Hornsby to perform.

“Mercedes and Steinway grand pianos both have wheels and pedals, and they both make beautiful music, but that’s about all they would seem to have in common,” CEO Dieter Zetsche said.

He later noted, however, that the first investor in bringing the Mercedes brand to the U.S. was the founder of Steinway pianos.

WHAT’S NEXT, ‘PLASTIC-FREE POLYETHYLENE’ AWARD? To actress Jessica Alba, who told reporters that she was an advocate of “toxic-free paint and furniture” in her Beverly Hills home, including “PVC-free vinyl chairs.”

KNOWING YOUR LIMITS AWARD: To Bill Fay, group vice president and general manager of Toyota North America.

Fay managed to stop himself from dancing to the mariachi music that accompanied the debut of the Corolla Furia concept. He noted: “I’d need a shot of tequila to actually do that.”

DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY AWARD: To Robert Schad and the company he birthed years ago, Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.

Husky and Schad are suing each other — in a legal fight that has its roots in a First Nation reserve in Canada.

BEST USE OF QUOTATION MARKS IN A SALES PITCH AWARD: To the Chinese mold company that wrote: “We have a liaison office in the New Jersey, that makes it easy for you to communicate with us in ‘English,’ by phone, email or Skype.”

We’re skeptical too, that the language spoken by residents of New Jersey is actually “English.”

IMAGE IS EVERYTHING AWARD: To Chinese injection and blow molder Wuxi Glory, which manages to put out a press release almost every day, even when there isn’t much to say.

Some of our favorites from the past year include: “Cheap Injection Molded Plastic Parts Offered by Wuxi Glory,” and “China Injection Molding Company Wuxi Glory Plastics Back To the Office After The APPLAS 2013 Show.”

WHAT’S IN A NAME AWARD: To Jackie Rehkoph, senior researcher at Plasan Carbon Composites, who talked about why the company’s new processing system for carbon fiber is called “High Pressure Press.”

“Because it was named by engineers and not a marketing guy,” Rehkoph said.

WHO EXACTLY THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA AWARD: To the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which in September announced a recall of plastic and metal motorcycle training wheels “due to a crash hazard.”

IT’S GREEN BECAUSE I SAID IT’S GREEN AWARD: To the General Service Administration, which decided to let federal agencies have a choice of green building certification systems, either the Green Building Initiatives’ Green Globes 2010 system or the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) 2009.

YOU SHOULD SEE OUR BODY PAINT EDITION: To recycler Poly Recovery LLC, which was really excited to see a Plastics News feature on the company.

The firm posted this status on Facebook: “Poly Recovery’s recent expansion made the feature story in Plastics News latest issue! For those who aren’t familiar with the #plastics industry, this is like being on the cover of Sports Illustrated ... the swimsuit edition.”

CHANGES IN ATTITUDE AWARD: To Don Sharp, the general manager of Tri-cities Manufacturing Inc. of Tuscumbia, Ala.

Sharp has worked in the plastics industry for 50 years, and he told one of our correspondents that the change he’s noticed the most in that time is the difference in public attitude about plastics.

“When I started, plastics was a great thing — it lasted forever. Now what they try to do today is to make it go away fast.”

How times have changed.