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October 31, 2019 Jeremy Boren

P&G Boosts Recycled Plastic, McDonald’s AI, Pitney Bowes Ransomware

Recycled Plastic to Double in Procter & Gamble Cleaning Brands

Recycled plastic (aka post-consumer resin) is getting a huge boost from a leader in the global packaged consumer goods market.

Post-consumer resin, known as PCR if you’re industry-savvy, is what companies dealing in Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) like Procter & Gamble use to produce more environmentally friendly packaging for their products — and P&G is committing to increasing its PCR (recycled plastic) usage in Europe by 9,000 tons.

It’s a smart move for many reasons.

Consumer sentiment favors PCR. According to Nielsen, consumers surveyed said they’re willing to pay more if they know a product is produced in a more sustainable way. The move is part of a larger global commitment from P&G to reduce global use of virgin petroleum plastic packaging by 2030.

Recycled Plastic
Source: P&G

“(Millennials and Baby Boomers) are also more willing to pay more for products that contain environmentally friendly or sustainable ingredients (90% vs. 61%), organic / natural ingredients (86% vs. 59%), or products that have social responsibility claims (80% vs. 48%),” according to Nielsen.

P&G will convert more than 300 million bottles that are among P&G’s European household cleaning brands to totally or partially recycled plastic by 2020. Surface cleaning wipes will be changed to recycled fiber.

“We are proud of this significant milestone across our cleaning products as we know with our immense scale we can create a positive impact.”

Elvan Onal, P&G vice president for Home Care products in Europe

GrayMatter has teamed with P&G since 2001 to help it find ways to reduce downtime and saving money.

For more about GrayMatter’s work, check out our IndustryWeek Industry 4.0 webinar presentation from October 2019.

Machine Learning Rolls into the Drive-Thru Lane at McDonald’s

Source: McDonald’s

McDonald’s is investing heavily in the power of machine learning, counting on the technology to predict what drive-thru customers want so it can promote the most tantalizing combos of Big Macs and McNuggets on its digital menu boards.

It’s part of a long-term strategy to combat sagging fast-food sales, reports The New York Times via Yahoo News.

McDonald’s is already using the tech at some locations, mostly at the drive-thru window, to promote certain menu options based on weather conditions (think: prominently featuring ice cold soft drinks instead of hot coffee on a really hot day).

But it could go much further.

With a customer’s permission, McDonald’s could log license plate numbers to display a custom mix of options when your vehicle pulls up, kind of like when Amazon displays products based on every website you’ve visited in the past 24 hours.

“You just grow to expect that in other parts of your life. Why should it be different when you’re ordering at McDonald’s?” said Daniel Henry, the chain’s chief information officer. “We don’t think food should be any different than what you buy on Amazon.”

To demonstrate how seriously McDonald’s is approaching ML: “In March, McDonald’s spent more than $300 million to buy Dynamic Yield, the Tel Aviv-based company that developed the artificial intelligence tools now used at thousands of McDonald’s drive-thrus.”

McDonald’s announced this year it has entered a deal to acquire a startup, Apprente, which also develops “conversational voice-based technology.”

The company has also established McD Tech Labs in Silicon Valley, where engineers are working to develop its voice recognition technology.

Pitney Bowes Contending with Major Ransomware Malware Attack

Pitney Bowes, the global company known for postage meters and e-commerce technology, acknowledged on Oct. 14 that it is the victim of a ransomware attack known as the Ryuk virus.

The attack has affected client service. The company has been providing regular updates about its attempts to recover on a special system update web page.

As of this writing, the latest update was Oct. 29, suggesting the company is still very much in the thick of its recovery efforts more than two weeks after announcing the attack had occurred.

Like other ransomware, Ryuk is a Trojan virus that encrypts the files of its target and then demands a ransom be paid in exchange for a key code that can decrypt the affected files. It can also spread to other systems on the same network.

We’ve seen Ryuk before. Among others, it was responsible for the ransomware attack on Lake City, Fla. Even though the FBI advises against it because it could encourage further attacks, Lake City decided to permit its insurer to pay a ransom of 42 Bitcoins, or roughly $500,000, to recover its files.

For more about ransomware, and how municipalities, water utilities and private companies can mitigate the risks of such an attack, check out GrayMatter’s report: Ransomware Rising by Cybersecurity Practice Lead Scott Christensen.

And for even more about ransomware, you can listen to Scott on GrayMatter’s emPOWERUP Podcast, where he discusses the surge in 2019 of ransomware attacks on cities and what they can do about it.

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Jeremy Boren

Jeremy is GrayMatter's Brand Manager and the author of TechHub and the emPOWERUP Podcast. He writes about digital solutions, trends and culture in the world of operational technology. Jeremy's background is in daily journalism. He has a passion for storytelling and enjoys highlighting the technologies and professionals taking on complex challenges in manufacturing, energy, cybersecurity and infrastructure.