Oh, 2020. What will you think of next? A pandemic, murder hornets, Supreme Court battles, civil unrest and a disputed election.
It was a year where everyone learned to use Zoom, Skype, Teams or Slack. Or maybe all of the above. Heaven help the non-tech-savvy among us.
This is our 33rd edition of the Plastic Globe awards, our annual irreverent tribute to the plastics industry's newsmakers. Usually my rule is that Plastic Globes have to be funny. This year we'll sprinkle in a few others, for variety. I hope a little humor will help our readers prepare for a great 2021.
THE REPORT OF ITS DEMISE WAS AN EXAGGERATION AWARD to Lakeside Memorial Funeral Home in Buffalo, N.Y., which held a mock funeral for the plastic grocery bag back in February, when the state was poised to ban single-use bags starting on March 1.
That was before the pandemic gave single-use bags a reprieve. New York started to actually enforce the ban in October.
FIND A NEW CAREER, PR GUY AWARD to Matthew Faraci, the president of a public relations firm, who sent Plastics News' Rhoda Miel a press release with the bold promise, "If this COVID-19 story isn't pitch-perfect for you, I need to find a new career." The release had absolutely nothing to do with plastics.
SECOND TAKE AWARD to the firms that send out emails "signed" by celebrities, including Angelina Jolie, Amy Adams and Scarlett Johansson, offering to sell me phony lists of people who signed up to attend trade shows. Guess what, I don't really believe that Megan Fox owns a list of Eurobike 2020 attendees.
BAD PHOTOSHOP AWARD to the company that sent out a photo of a medical product featuring a gloved hand that has six fingers. Is that the guy who killed Inigo Montoya's dad in The Princess Bride—
NO HOCKEY FANS IN AKRON AWARD to our sister publication Rubber & Plastics News, which ran a photo online of a "vaselike sculpture" done with 3D printing that clearly was a replica of the Stanley Cup.
RELAX, IT'S NOT REAL AWARD to Michigan's Muskegon Community College, which made the news when someone reported seeing an alligator in Four Mile Creek, which runs through the campus. Alas, this wasn't a repeat of 2019, when Chance the Snapper turned out to be a real gator in Chicago's Humboldt Park Lagoon. Muskegon's gator was a plastic toy.
THANK GOODNESS WE'RE THE SAME SIZE AWARD to me, because I forgot to bring a sport coat to the 2020 Executive Forum. Fortunately, senior reporter Bill Bregar had an extra.
While I am on the subject ... I keep a running list of Plastic Globe ideas all year, and Rhoda is my most frequent contributor. Her suggestions are usually the funniest, which should surprise no one who reads her Kickstart blog.
Bill used to send them, too, usually in all caps with exclamation points: PLASTIC GLOBE!!
This sport coat item is Bill's contribution to the 2020 Plastic Globes. RIP, buddy. We miss you.
COVER YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN AWARD to Fox News personality Brit Hume, who was hilariously mocked after he accidentally revealed his interest in "sexy vixen vinyl." Is that anything like suspension resin?
PLASTIC IS FANTASTIC AWARD to Caelie Wilkes, a California woman who became internet famous for a day when she revealed that she'd been watering a beautiful house plant for two years before she realized it was plastic.
TOUGH GUY AWARD to former plastics executive Bill Patient, who — it was revealed in a column by Plastics News' Frank Esposito — threatened to fight me in a 1997 meeting when we were discussing our coverage of the vinyl industry.
Patient, a passionate advocate for PVC, died on Feb. 25 at age 85. RIP, Bill.
CHECKS FROM FAKE CHARITIES AWARD to Caitlyn Jenner and soccer coach Harry Redknapp, who were accused in a U.K. TV report of taking thousands of dollars in exchange for Instagram posts that promoted a fake charity. The TV station set up the sting operation to reveal the widespread practice of paying celebrities for public support.
The fake charity was called Cuppa: Cleaning Up Plastic Pollution in Africa.
HEROES AWARD to the Braskem Americas workers who pulled 28-day shifts, living in factories away from their families to keep the supply of polypropylene resin needed for personal protective equipment uninterrupted. As a footnote, the White House pressed for a presidential visit to the factory for a photo op … but that would kind of defeat the purpose of the quarantine, right?
PLASTIC PRODUCT SAVES THE DAY AGAIN AWARD to Father Timothy R. Pelc of the St. Ambrose Parish in Grosse Pointe Park, Mich., who wanted to maintain a tradition of blessing Easter food baskets in a holiday with social distancing. Photos of him spraying holy water with a squirt gun went viral.
BUREAUCRATIC OOPS AWARD to whoever at the Illinois Department of Commerce put a Chicago-area injection molder on a July 10 list of Illinois companies reporting mass layoffs. The WARN report said the company was closing and laying off 600 people. None of that was true, and the company didn't have anywhere close to 600 workers. Informed of the mistake by Plastics News, the state immediately retracted the report.
TONE DEAF AWARD AWARD to Newsweek magazine, which named Arconic Corp. to its "America's Most Responsible Companies 2021" list. Arconic has been dealing with criticism all year for its product's role in the 2017 Grenfall Tower fire.
MAKING THE BEST OF NONACTIVE PARTICIPATION AWARD to the organizers of the Fakuma trade show, who did their best to plan for the October event, despite exhibitors who made it clear that they would not send anyone to staff their booths. A virtual Fakuma took its place and went off without a hitch, and we hope to be back in Friedrichshafen next year.
RESEARCH FUN AWARD to correspondent Jeannie Reall, who was doing some research and came across the website explaining all kinds of molding, from injection molding to compression molding to crown molding. Yes, crown molding.
RESEARCH FUN AWARD, PART 2 also to Jeannie, who found a video on tooling where the producer chose porn music for the background. (Which she knows from watching the TV show Supernatural, she emphasized). She was waiting for Barry White's voiceover. The best part: It was a video for "family molds," for gosh sakes.
BEST WISHES AWARD to Patrick Cannon, our group sales director, who is starting a well-earned retirement starting next week. Sláinte!
Loepp is editor of Plastics News and author of the Plastics Blog. Follow him on Twitter @donloepp.
Plastics News editorial cartoon by Rich Williams. Cartoons are available for purchase at www.plasticsnews.com/data-lists/cartoons