I was surprised in a bad way when I learned a single-use plastic straw takes 200 years to decompose and everyday Americans use 500 million a day. That equates to a lot of plastic ending up in our landfills and staying there for a long time. A few years ago, Hoffmaster Group in Oshkosh wanted to make a sustainable difference and purchased another company, becoming one of the nation’s largest producers of paper straws.
Paper straws are just one of many of Hoffmaster’s products designed with the planet in mind. A maker of premium tabletop products, Hoffmaster continues to develop and manufacture more sustainable options for customers, including wooden utensils. Turn to page 22 to read Jessica Thiel’s cover story on Hoffmaster and its continued efforts to make sustainable products.
Similarly, as utilities look to decrease their carbon footprint, they are looking for cleaner ways to produce energy. Enter solar array farms. Wisconsin’s first utility-sized solar array opened last year in Manitowoc County and many more are in development. Turn to my Sustainability feature on page 31 to learn more about the growth in solar energy generation and why utilities find it an attractive alternative.
Jessica’s Insider takes on a serious topic this month: why so many women are leaving the workforce. Starting on page 28, you’ll read how the pandemic brought to light workplace inequities between men and women, which meant more women opted to stay home when their children’s schools or day care centers were closed.
Businesses across the New North are hunting for workers, and veterans are an often-untapped resource that could help fill their needs. New North, Inc. partnered with Mission Wisconsin to help recruit people to come to the region after they leave the military. Turn to Nikki Kallio’s New North feature on page 12 to learn more about the initiative’s efforts.
As of this writing, nominations have closed for the 2021 Insight Women of Influence in the New North Region Awards. Reading about all of the remarkable women in our region is an uplifting experience. We plan to announce this year’s winners in mid-April, so be sure to follow our social media feeds or visit our website to stay up-to-date. I know this year we’ll have another group of amazing winners to celebrate at a special event in early August.
An extra dose of Insight
Watch Andy Romjue, foodservice and creative converting president for Hoffmaster, discuss the company’s commitment to sustainability and its new Bio-Shield line.
Romjue’s video is one of many you will find online at insightonbusiness.com/home/cover-story-videos.
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