Kickstart: The write stuff

Here’s a pandemic story you can jot down in ink. Preferrably with one of Newell Brands Inc.’s many brands of pens.With most students headed back to in-person school this fall, demand is on the rise for items like Sharpies, Paper Mate pens and Elmer’s glue. Luckily for the Atlanta-based consumer products maker, Newell has a large U.S.-based supply chain.”The vast majority of what we sell in writing is manufactured in the U.S.” Newell Chief Financial Officer Chris Peterson said during the company’s quarterly earnings call July 30. “So we are not in the business of dealing with ocean freight, port issues, availability of raw materials and components as we are on some of our other businesses.”notes that recent surveys indicate that U.S. consumers expect to spend an additional 9 percent on back-to-school items in 2021.Newell President and CEO Ravi Saligram said core sales of the writing business increased more than 25 percent.Newell also owns the Contigo brand and notes that it likewise will benefit from another pandemic school supply: reusable water bottles.”We know parents are navigating new challenges this back-to-school season. Our priority at Contigo is to make them feel confident in their kids’ transition to in-person learning by providing an effortless drinking experience” , vice president and general manager for beverage in the outdoor and recreation business unit at Newell Brands, in a news release. “Our research tells us that 80 percent of parents are planning to send their child to school with a reusable water bottle, making it a top item on shopping lists this year.” Last weekend I was in Milwaukee for a couple of triathlon races and was struck by a couple of different things related to plastics.First up: Wow, a few thousand athletes really go through a lot of platics and other trash. There are cups filled with water or other drinks on the race course along with bottles consumed before the start and at the finish line.There are also so, so, so many flexible Plastic packages for nutrition and snacks. And of course banana peels, stickers, bags used to organized gear and the occasional punctured tube. (Along with, as evidenced above, a shoe? Guess someone really didn’t like theirs.)But along with all this, there are major efforts underway to try to reduce the impact of races. Many endurance sports penalize athletes for littering outside designated trash zones. Making an even bigger impact are the people at an increasing number of events who sort through bags of trash to separate recyclable and compostable items before they go to landfills. is a company that works with race directors toward the goal of zero waste from running and other fitness events. At one recent event, there were nearly 100 pounds of trash collected, but of it was diverted to recycling or composting. But to make that happen, Happy Planet sorts though bags and bags of trash.So there are ways to deal with all that trash from big events. But someone has to be willing to get their hands dirty to make it happen. A half-mile or so from the race site in Milwaukee, I wandered past another reminder of plastic, this time in the form of a 10-foot sculpture created to mimic a plastic red cup from Solo Cup Co.The sculpture titled Jokester was placed in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward area in 2020 as part of the annual Sculpture Milwaukee festival.The artwork isn’t intended as praise for the iconic cup, however.”The signature 10-foot red sculpture acts as a stop sign, encouraging individuals to pause and examine how we shape our world, how our world shapes us and the marks we leave behind in transient moments,” artist Paula Crown Atelier told Hypebeast magazine. “[The] giant red cup, , becomes a shameful reminder of how we treat Mother Nature.”   Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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