Kickstart: Will sand sink your battleship?

The Toy Hall of Fame’s list of finalists for 2021 is out, and while there are many items made using plastics, they’re up against what the hall says “may be the most universal and oldest toy in the world”: sand.”Children recognize sand as a creative material suitable for pouring, scooping, sieving, raking and measuring,” the Hall of Fame wrote in its announcement of this year’s finalists. “Wet sand is even better, ready for kids to construct, shape and sculpt. Sand provides unique opportunities for tactical, physical, cooperative, creative and independent free play.”At least the nomination photo places the sand inside a Plastic bucket. If it wins, it would join items such as sticks and bubbles as nonbranded playthings.But sand has some tough competition with its own long history, especially when it comes to plastics. The billiard ball was key to the new plastics industry, spurring the development of celluloid as a replacement for ivory in pool balls in the 1800s. (Billiard balls today typically are made with phenolic resins.)Other plastics featured in finalists this year: Milton Bradley’s Battleship game, which has been sold in everything from paper to electronic versions; American Girl dolls; the Fisher-Price Corn Popper; Masters of the Universe action figures; and, to a lesser extent, the board game Risk and toy fire engines. American Girl dolls and the Corn Popper have been finalists previously. You can find .The Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, N.Y., hosts the Hall of Fame. It will announce the winners in November. The cost of labor is continuing to go up with more competition from outside the manufacturing industry pushing up wages.This isn’t news, of course. Catherine Kavanaugh wrote recently about the struggles plastics executives face in competing for workers and in this week’s Viewpoint,he has heard the same.”We know how hard you’re trying. I got a note from a reader a few weeks ago saying her firm was outbidding other employers ‘for felons, homeless and transient people just to get a labor force to continue to operate.’ Point taken,” he wrote.There’s been a lot of debate about how much of the blame on labor shortages should go to additional unemployment stipends paid out, but those benefits have ended. What hasn’t ended is the pressure from elsewhere.Consider this: Inc. just boosted its starting pay to $18 per hour, and. It could bump up that pay to more than $22 per hour at some locations and also pay out a signing bonus.With numbers like that, plastics firms will face fierce competition not only for new workers, but also to retain the ones they have. As Don also writes, that means providing something beyond cash.”[Companies] also need to compete in an area that’s less tangible and harder to change. That’s culture,” he writes. “Culture is an area where I think many plastics processors already do well, but there’s always room for improvement.” The Met Gala in New York this week was, once again, the center of the universe for fashion fans, with costumes, capes and crystals taking center stage.Also in the spotlight? Plastics that were recovered from the ocean and repurposed into the Magnetosphere Dress, a structural creation by designer Iris van Herpen and artist Rogan Brown that took more than 640 hours to make.Worn by actress Hailee Steinfeld, the dress was made of hand- and laser-cut layers of marine plastic, each individually stitched, .It was a work of art, Steinfeld told Vanity Fair, but also “slightly uncomfortable.”  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 Please enter a valid email address.Please enter your email address.Please verify captcha.Please select at least one newsletter to subscribe. 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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