Wonder what the plastics industry will be doing in the next 500 years? Plastics News' staff futurologists have come up with some uncanny (i.e., oddball) predictions. The forecast makes for a droll stroll down millennium lane. 2000 — Key Plastics and Cambridge Industries announce they no longer are seeking buyers — that they plan to buy each other. "They couldn't help themselves," said a spokesman for the ever-acquisitive firms.
2005 — Royal Technologies Group creates an all-in-one process for an injection molded house. The 35-foot-high, 70-foot-wide, 200-ton mold comes in Colonial, Bungalow, Ranch and Spanish Villa styles and is a hit with movie makers looking to cut their location budgets. Low-paid studio interns now can lug elaborate homes from set to set with ease.
2010 — Unfettered by gas prices surpassing $8 an ounce, Ford introduces the all-electric, all-plastic, one-piece Sport Utility Recreational Vocational Urban Suburban Mobile Domicile, the Hummalong. Royal Technologies Group supplies the molds.
2014 — Out of sheer boredom, Exxon Mobil Phillips Chevron Corp. and Dow Union Carbide Lyondell Oxy LLC — the megafirms that control 97 percent of the North American resin market — swap their massive petrochemical holdings in a one-year contest to see who can post higher returns.
2020 — The Global Humane Society notes an astronomical increase in the number of abandoned, mutant puppies in the past decade, which the group blames on phthalates. "The whole time Greenpeace was protesting phthalates in baby products, our pets were chomping away on septic squeaky toys. Now we've got all these three-legged, one-eyed dogs that nobody wants."
2021 — Former Cambridge Industries Chairman Richard Crawford g announces he has acquired a controlling interest in the Global Humane Society.
2039 — As Plastics News celebrates its 50th anniversary, f George Makrauer marks the occasion with his 1,500th letter to the editor.
2075 — Phillip Morris, the onetime tobacco giant that had turned its attention to high-protein chewing gum after the Smokers' Riots of 2058, introduces a process to make a biodegradable resin out of discarded cigarette butts. Resin makers automatically start bidding for the rights to employees' lounges and real estate surrounding office back doors. The most drastic purchase occurs at a Ford Motor Co. plant in Brook Park, Ohio, where M.A. Hanna Co. pays $500,000 for the 4-square-foot area outside of the crane operators' break room.
2080 — In a joint news conference, all the automakers in the world announce they are slashing their collective supplier base to one company: Delphi Automotive. "It wasn't a tough decision," a spokesman said. "Delphi agreed to make, paint and assemble all the parts, test-drive the cars, sell and service the vehicles and — get this — each Delphi employee has to buy at least two new cars every year. Woo-hoo!"
2089 — High-strength metallocene film finally wins over skeptical film processors when police departments across the country adopt Pactiv's Crook-Grab film in high-speed car chases. The film's stretchability and strength allows cops, sheriffs and federal agents to stretch large sheets of it across highways, side streets and back alleys to nab lawbreakers fleeing at speeds of up to 100 mph.
2100 — Long the world's sole automotive supplier, Delphi Automotive proclaims itself the world's
sole automaker. Thousands of impoverished but fashionably wheeled Delphi employees storm the Renaissance Center in Detroit, declaring martial law. "From now on, those Big Three bozos and their cohorts work for us," a spokesman said.
2111 — DuPont strikes paydirt with a new liquid-repellent polyester, which a group of college students in Ithaca, N.Y., convert into Drinkin' Pants. The revolutionary fashion concept quickly posts huge sales numbers among college fraternities, rugby clubs and English faculty. The one-size-fits-all pants, marketed in a vast array of designer colors, are impervious to spilled beer, wine coolers, Hairy Buffalo mixes and shots of hard liquor.
2121 — Blow molders test-market carbonated beverages, water, mayonnaise, ketchup and cooking oil in 2-ounce bottles to meet consumers' busy lifestyles. Industry analysts say the minibottles are the next logical step down from the 20-ounce bottle craze of the 1990s.
2170 — Delphi announces it is replacing "that cheap wood s—-" in its Jaguar XJ40 Hovercraft dashboards with "rare and luxuriant plastic, made from nonrenewable resources."
2227 — Plastic beer bottle promoters rejoice when referees escape without injury after a controversial call costs the Cleveland Browns a victory over the Mexico City Feathered Serpents in Super Bowl CCLXI. Browns fans bombard officials with a volley of thousands of plastic Miller, Budweiser and Great Lakes Brewing bottles after wide receiver "Sugar Bear" Ali-Muhammad is ruled out of bounds on a triple reverse flea-flicker pass on the game's final play. At one point in the melee, referee crew chief Seamus Lafferty taunts the crowd, shouting, "Is that the best you can do?" as bottles careen harmlessly off of his head, face and shoulders.
2261 — Plastics e-commerce hits a glitch when an exhausted buyer at cookie giant Keebler Co. sends commodity markets plunging by electronically canceling an order for 2 billion pounds of resins, when he means to cancel an order for 2 billion pounds of raisins. The 3 a.m. typo isn't discovered until noon the next day, by which time market prices drop 75 percent.
2261 — A similar incident occurs when an initial public offering for Xavier Injection Business Molding (Nasdaq: XIBM) sees its $14 opening price climb to $171 per share before day traders realize the company is not an Internet venture launched by former IBM executives.
2280 — Mold makers schedule conventions in Las Vegas, Cozumel, Paris, Venice, Athens, Rome and the Poconos to discuss the urgent need for better education programs.
2389 — GE Plastics and Bayer Corp. introduce the Super-Disc, a polycarbonate data-storage disc capable of storing the names, addresses, phone numbers and ice cream preferences of each resident of the 48 contiguous United States and Canada, with enough storage space left to include computer games such as Doom 19, Quake 37 and Pokemon: Buy This Now!, and all 137 Rolling Stones albums.
2492 — To commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce commissions full-scale plastic replicas of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, which they plan to tug to the Caribbean island of Hispaniola where the misguided adventurer landed in his search for India. Halfway to their destination, the replicas are attacked by Greenpeace speedboats in the environmental activist group's latest attempt to discredit the plastics industry. The attack fails, however, when the speedboats' engines unexpectedly burn out. Investigators later learn Greenpeace mechanics had removed PVC fuel tubing from the engines, leading to the catastrophic engine failures.
2492 — Jon Huntsman XII acquires Greenpeace, announcing he will dismantle the organization and burn any remnants. "Like my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, I am a humanitarian," he said. "And this was the most humane action I could take."
2500 — Female vocalist Shalamar J-Twain, a direct descendant of rapper LL Cool J and country singer Shania Twain, races up the charts with "(You Can't Break This Fly Girl's) Plastic Heart." The song stays on top of the Billboard Hot 100 for an unprecedented 47 straight weeks, raising the public image of the plastics industry to new heights.