Laughing our way out of 2016

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We’ve had enough of 2016.

It’s been a year with too much drama and tragedy. Too many people don’t get along. We lost too many people who were dear to us.

Sometimes it has been hard to be funny. Or it hasn’t felt appropriate to laugh.

But every so often, the plastics industry — yes, the plastics industry — can bring a break from the somber news headlines and bring a smile to our faces. And once a year, we share those inside jokes with our readers, through our annual Plastic Globe awards.

The Plastic Globes are our opportunity to share irreverent (and at times irrelevant) stories and tidbits that we collect throughout each year.

So let’s take an opportunity to laugh at ourselves, and at each other, and look forward to a happy and amusing 2017:

WHAT’S OUR PRIME DIRECTIVE? AWARD: To Seegrid Corp., which gave out something called the Robo Journalist of the Year award at the Modex trade show in April. Oh the humanity!

I LOVE MY JOB AWARD: To the third-shift factory worker at Jay Plastics in Mansfield, Ohio, who won a $5 million Mega Millions jackpot in March and told the local newspaper that he would quit his job as a taxi dispatcher — but keep his job at the plastics plant.

“I’ve still got at least 15 years till I retire,” he told the Mansfield News Journal.

SWEETEN THE POT AWARD: To the factory owner in Zhejiang, China, who in March posted a help-wanted ad for someone to help manage the family business — and marry his 38-year-old son.

According to, the ad said: “Female boss needed for rubber factory. Must be 38 years of age or under. Junior high school graduate or above. Can be divorced or have children. Hard-working, possess computer and management skills.”

No word on if she also needs to like candlelight dinners, long walks on the beach and responding to customer RFPs.

MIND IF WE QUOTE OURSELVES? AWARD: To Hillwood, BNSF Railway Co. and Packwell, three firms collaborating on new plastics resin packaging facilities. They sent our senior reporter Frank Esposito a news release on April 26 that quotes — Frank Esposito!

We admire their choice of experts.

A TRADE GROUP BY ANY OTHER NAME AWARD: To auto supplier Yokagawa Corp. of America, which proudly sent out a news release noting it had been approved as an affiliate member of the “American Chemical Council.”

We hope they have good “chemistry” with the other members.

DON’T ACRONYMIZE US AWARD: To Bill Carteaux, president and CEO of the Plastics Industry Association — the new name of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.

Carteaux was very firm in emphasizing that he does not want the group to be referred to as “PIA.” It needs to be either completely spelled out, “Plastics Industry Association,” or written “PLASTICS” in all caps.

No word yet on whether there’s a swear jar in the Washington trade group’s offices for anyone who mistakenly mentions either SPI or PIA.

NEVER MIND! AWARD: To the Idaho Conservation League, which had to retract an accusation that plastic bag maker Novolex was violating federal laws on reporting toxic waste.

In July, the group had threatened to file a lawsuit against Novolex. But on Aug. 1 it retracted the threat and said it had full confidence that all Novolex facilities were in compliance.

The Idaho environmental apologized, saying: “Novolex did not need to file with the EPA because their emissions levels are substantially below reporting thresholds, thanks to its vigilant efforts to reduce emissions and innovative in-house operational practices.”

We hope they don’t pay their law firm by the hour.

I SWEAR IT WAS A DOUGHNUT AWARD: To the worker at the Cooper Standard Automotive plant in Surgoinsville, Tenn., who was arrested in February when he returned to the job after a break, allegedly with meth powder around his nose.

BLUSHING EDITOR AWARD: To one of our friendly competitors who, in an April blog post soliciting ideas for an annual “Top 10 reasons to be a mold maker” contest, listed this winning entry from a previous year: “It let’s me fill deep cavities with a hard tool all day long.”

How embarrassing … a superfluous apostrophe!

CLOSING THE LOOP AWARD: To Nisha Abey at Byron Bay, Australia-based clothing designer Liar the Label, which won headlines in November for creating a line of bikinis made using recycled plastic bottles and fishing net.

Abey told the media that the recycled-content fabric has a low environmental impact, while also being durable and sun-safe.

The story from Rupert Murdoch’s Herald Sun newspaper credited Abey with “saving the world — one bikini at a time.”

BUT BIO-BASED PLASTICS ARE DELICIOUS AWARD: A class-action lawsuit filed this year alleges that Honda Motor Co. knew that the soy-based insulation used on some electrical wiring is too tasty for squirrels, rabbits and mice to resist.

Courthouse News Service first reported the federal suit for breach of warranty filed on behalf of car owners from Arizona, Texas and Wyoming.

Warning to automakers: No more Tier 1 supply contracts with Willy Wonka.

WHAT WE HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2017 AWARD: To Jay Baron, the head of the Center for Automotive Research, summing up the turmoil related to President-elect Donald Trump’s statements on NAFTA, trade and the auto industry in general: “It’s loud, it’s unnerving and the uncertainty is what’s driving a lot of people kind of crazy.”

Happy New Year, everyone! Watch for the annual Market Data Book on Dec. 26, and the next regular issue on Jan. 9.