Plastics has problems. Here's an outside-the-box solution: harness the power of brand influencers.
Everyone is always talking about how we need to spread the word about the great career opportunities in plastics. What if we could convince Taylor Swift to become a mold maker? Or Justin Bieber to pursue a Six Sigma black belt?
How about plastics' longstanding image problem? Let's fix that by getting Cristiano Ronaldo to endorse the Trucost study. You know the one, "Plastics and Sustainability: A Valuation of Environmental Benefits, Costs and Opportunities for Continuous Improvement."
That's just the sort of authentic, science-based message that will resonate with young people.
I am kidding, of course. After all, this is our 32nd annual edition of the Plastic Globe awards, when we get to poke a little fun at plastics-related news from the past year.
We hope a little humor will help kick off a wonderful 2020 for all our readers. And don't forget, we're laughing with you, not at you!
GOOD IDEAS THAT BACKFIRE AWARD: To East West Market in Vancouver, British Columbia, which tried to cut down on plastic bag use by printing "Wart Ointment Wholesale" and "Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium" on its bags. It didn't work: Consumer demand for the comically branded bags was through the roof.
ENDORSED BY AQUAMAN AWARD: To Plastics News' own Steve Toloken, whose story on Coke and Pepsi leaving the Plastics Industry Association was shared on Instagram by Jason Momoa, the actor of Aquaman and Game of Thrones fame. Khal Drogo reads Plastics News!
STORY WE COULDN'T RESEARCH AWARD: To PornHub, which launched a naughty video to raise awareness about plastic pollution. Nope, we're not going to click on that link.
HOLD MY DRINK AWARD: To Canada's Green Party, which admitted to doctoring a photo of its leader to show her holding a reusable plastic cup instead of a single-use cup. That's a creative use of PhotoShop!
HOLD MY DRINK RUNNER-UP: To Boris Johnson, who was handed a plastic coffee cup at a Conservative Party conference, only to have it snatched away before he would take a sip. "No disposable cups," the aide said. Fortunately, it was all caught on video.
HOW MUCH DID YOU HAVE IN MIND? AWARD: To the marketing specialist at an East Coast injection molder who, while pitching a news story, asked several times how much it would cost for a Page 1 story in Plastics News. (For the record, there's no charge.)
ALERT THE LAWYERS AWARD: To disgruntled Mercedes-Benz owner Kerry Costello, who won more than $1,000 in a lawsuit after he discovered that the leather seats in his E-class Cabriolet were partially made of plastic.
BUT WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY MAKE? AWARD: To Leaf Home Solutions, a Hudson, Ohio, company that makes gutter protection products. But we loved this company description from its news release: "A direct-to-consumer business that transforms homes into safe and stylish environments through high-quality accessibility solutions that improve the lives of its customers."
WHEN AUTO WRITERS DON'T UNDERSTAND MATERIALS AWARD: To the reporter who included this description in a story about Kia's new electric vehicle shown at the Geneva auto show: "The dipped and main beam units, separated by horizontal 'eyelids,' are housed within a single block of acrylic glass...."
WHEN AUTO WRITERS DON'T UNDERSTAND MATERIALS, RUNNER-UP: To the reporter who wrote: "We'll see the C8 Corvette unveiled in the metal in just 10 days, on July 18." Nope, the Corvette is still plastic.
SNARKY HEADLINE AWARD: To Eugene Weekly, which published a letter from the American Chemistry Council's Tim Shestek with the headline "Long Live Plastics."
WORST ANTIPLASTICS SONG AWARD: To Simon Blewhouse, for his song "Plactory," which was shared on social media by Save Our Skibbereen, a grassroots group that helped block construction of a compounding plant in Ireland.
This is probably the first song in history with lyrics that mention "thermoplastic compound facility." And yes, he managed to rhyme with that.
STATING THE OBVIOUS AWARD: To the Plastics Industry Association, which said in an April tweet: "Did you know that Legos are made from plastic?" (To be fair, the rest of the tweet was about ABS resin, which most people probably do not know about.)
QUESTIONABLE ARCHITECTURAL INNOVATION AWARD: To the chemical industry reporter who tweeted, after the Notre Dame cathedral fire in Paris, "Could they install a polycarbonate roof?"
PLASTIC SPOILS SPRING BREAK AWARD: To the plastic bag that flew into a Frontier airlines engine in April, causing the cancellation of a flight from Cleveland to Cancun.
TYPOS ARE EXPENSIVE AWARD: To the Reserve Bank of Australia, which printed A$50 notes with a typo: The word "responsibility" was missing an "i."
BAAAD NEWS AWARD: To Audrey Van Gogh, a plastic sheep sculpture that was stolen from the village green in New Buckenham, England. What sort of rustler would stoop to stealing plastic sheep? Let alone one with a missing ear!
WE NEED A LESSON IN CHEMISTRY AWARD: To the European Council, which is debating whether polyhydroxyalkanoate bioplastics (better known as PHA) can be used to make disposable products such as cutlery, straws and cotton buds under the region's new single-use plastics directive. PHAs are naturally occurring polymers, made by microbial fermentation.
Loepp is editor of Plastics News and author of the Plastics Blog. Follow him on Twitter @donloepp.