Plastics News tries to predict the humorous — and improbable — ``events'' that will grace our annual Plastics Globe Awards feature in the next 10 years:
REACH FOR THE STARS AWARD: Nypro Inc. announces plans to build the first injection molding plant on the moon. President Gordon Lankton says the venture will lose money initially, but the company ``wants to be there when colonization takes off.''
STOP REACHING FOR THE STARS AWARD: The Earthwinds team, having failed for the 403rd time to circle the globe, finally gives up. It immediately announces plans to travel nonstop via hot-air balloon to Nypro's lunar facility.
BACK TO THE FUTURE FOAM BOX AWARD: Riding a '90s nostalgia wave, McDonald's Corp. brings back the the polystyrene clamshell burger box and dumps coated paper. An elderly woman bites into the first piping-hot Big Mac in decades, burns her lip, and files a $50 million lawsuit.
WE CAN WORK IT OUT AWARD: APC wins a restraining order forbidding SPI to come within 50 feet of it, but reconsiders when SPI says it ``really wants to make this thing work.'' After extensive counseling, the two agree to spend weekends and holidays together.
THEY DROPPED LIKE FLIES AWARD: To Magna International Inc., which just purchased Visteon Automotive Systems, completing the final piece in its quest to become the world's last remaining auto-parts supplier. Magna issued a statement saying that all automakers now must bow at the knees and call Magna employees ``your excellency'' while speaking with them.
SEZ WHO, INAKI LOPEZ MEMORIAL AWARD: To General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler, which have vowed to fight back by no longer using suppliers. Instead, dealerships will only sell chassis and frames, and vehicle buyers will be handed do-it-yourself kits to make parts from scratch in their garages.
WATCH-WHERE-YOU-STEP AWARD: To vehicle buyers, who decide they have had enough and go back to horses and carriages for their everyday commutes. Buggy whips become the hot new fashion accessory, showing up everywhere from Wal-Mart to Victoria's Secret catalogs.
WHEN-WILL-THEY-EVER-LEARN AWARD: To Inaki Lopez II, son of the cost-slashing, former GM purchasing czar, who takes over International Horse & Carriage Inc., the world's largest buggy maker. Lopez immediately tears up contracts with suppliers and rebids parts for the plastic-bodied carriages. It eventually sets off Armageddon, proving that the year-2000 doomsayers were a bit early.
GROUNDHOG DAY AWARD: To Magna and all the suppliers it has bought, who say, as they have for decades, that plastic auto-parts recycling is just around the corner on a mass scale. While the world waits, Wellman Inc. develops recycled PET from used bottles of Viagra, which in its fruity-tasting liquid form has replaced soft drinks as the world's top-selling drink.
LAST FRONTIER AWARD: Now that plastics has invaded virtually every area of the vehicle, GE Plastics and Dow Automotive announce a partnership to develop a new form of fuel from melted ABS pellets. The partnership fails after company executives claw each other to death in the first meeting of the two companies. New General Electric CEO Jack Welch II says, ``We've come to an agreement. We concur that we still can't stand each other.''
FULL COURT PRESS AWARD: To DaimlerChrysler and Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., who are still working to perfect a plastic-bodied car. Husky, which once leased DaimlerChrysler an 8,800-ton injection press for the project, now has raised the ante to make the first 40,000-ton press. The only place large enough to house the press is in Husky CEO Robert Schad's back yard, where it is used to flatten hamburgers during barbecues. The press winds up in the Smithsonian, where visitors gawk, ``That's a big whopping press.''
TWO SUDS UP AWARD: After beer manufacturers introduce plastic beer bottles to the mass market, injuries sustained during bar fights decrease 75 percent. Hooliganism at soccer matches becomes passe as the new trend of hitting one another on the head with the bottles, called ``male bopping,'' replaces male bonding.
CALL OUR DISTRIBUTOR AWARD: Major resin makers decide to handle only those customers buying material in amounts large enough to fill the hull of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Eisenhower, turning all other business over to distributors. Executives from General Polymers, Polymerland and M.A. Hanna Co. grab tape measures and hurriedly rush to naval shipyards.
OVER-OVER-OVER CAPACITY AWARD: Polywannaresin Inc., a resin manufacturer formed by lottery winners from several midwestern states, announces a second expansion of its as-yet-unbuilt Paw Paw, Ill., plant. Although the 1 billion-pound per-year plant is five years away from opening, Polywannaresin owners have already announced two 300 million pound expansions to keep up with anticipated growth. Polywannaresin spokesman Irving Shill says the company is simply doing what it has to do to protect its future market share.
GREAT THINGS AHEAD AWARD: Researchers at the University of Akron's polymer science department announce the discovery of a zirconium-enhanced cross-linked metallocene catalyst that can triple the performance characteristics of ultra-high molecular weight high density polyethylene. At a news conference, scientists unveil the three buckets of material produced to date using the catalyst, which they believe will produce sales of $500 million in the next three years. A week later, the university is sued by similar researchers at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, who claim to have invented the same catalyst when a grad student crashed into a lab table while attempting to imitate the opening sequence of ``Riverdance.''
CAUGHT IN THE ACT AWARD: Powerful steel lobbyist Jack Ingot leaves Washington in shame after USA Today runs a photo of him pushing his kids around in a Little Tikes plastics car. Ingot unconvincingly defends himself by saying a lower back sprain prevents him from pushing heavier metal cars.
SALT LAKE CITY OLYMPIC IMAGE-ENHANCEMENT AWARD: To the environmentalist group Greenpeace, whose successful crusade to get the Olympic organizing committee to ban all plastics causes the entire 2008 Games to be cancelled, since there are no sporting goods left to play with.
THE PLANT THAT ATE CHICAGO AWARD: To injection molder and mold maker Courtesy Corp., which expands its Buffalo Grove, Ill., facility for the 35th time, consuming Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
MY LIPS ARE SEALED AWARD: To Exxon Chemical Co. executives, who earn the all-time award by declining to comment on resin price changes for the 1 millionth time in the 20 years since Plastics News began.
CLASS ACTION MANIA AWARD: To litigious, ninety-something entrepreneur Michael Ladney, injection molding's gas-assist guru, who decides it would just be easier to sue the entire United States rather than nickel-and-dime it by suing individual firms he perceives are violating his gas-assisted molding patents.
HA, FOOLED YA! AWARD: To GE Plastics, for calling a press conference at NPE 2009 to announce, using professional presenters, that it doesn't really have any news, but that they just wanted to see how many reporters would show up and how long they can keep them away from GE's competitors.
ALL DAY, EVERY DAY AWARD: To Plastics News, which announces it is launching a new Internet and cable-news network — all plastics news, all day long, immediately provoking critics to complain that we'll have nothing to talk about.