Having handled Plastics News' Rising Stars special reports for the last few years, I've noticed the increasing shift of honorees emphasizing the importance of the environment, sustainability and climate change.
In our nomination form for Rising Stars, we ask about philosophies related to plastics and sustainability as well as what emerging technologies or markets excite the nominees the most.
"My philosophy is that plastics are a wicked problem, and it requires wicked solutions, and these problems are not inherently bad; it just takes large-scale change and open minds spanning generations," Evan Morton, a sustainability coordinator and PlastiVan educator with SPE, wrote in his 2022 survey.
Morton teaches the foundations of plastics and sustainability practices to students across Michigan, particularly in Detroit schools.
"I'm interested in reaching out to groups of people and having a conversation/present on plastics and the positive impacts plastics and people play in combating climate change," he said last year.
According to Pew Research Center data, 71 percent of millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) and 67 percent of generation Z (born after 1996) in the United States said the climate should be a top priority to ensure a sustainable planet for future generations, compared with 57 percent of baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964).