Plastic

History of Plastic

Think about it … how many times did you touch, consume and discard something plastic today? It’s everywhere! Take a closer look and you’ll soon realize that almost everything we own is either made of plastic or was once wrapped in the stuff. We’ve been sold that it’s “convenient”. We’ve created a throwaway society, and we’re ok with that. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can take a cloth bag to the grocery store, or better yet – the farmer’s market. We can fill up a re-usable cup with our morning java – and often get a discount for doing so! We can make conscious, daily decisions to eliminate our plastic use, demand more from governments and manufacturers and help create a healthier planet with thriving ecosystems and beautiful beaches.

It should be simple. After all, plastic has only been around for about 150 years. Even at that, the first plastics were made from an organic material derived from cellulose. We hadn’t created our first commercially viable synthetic plastic until after the turn of the century (1907). The early to mid-1900s saw a rush in plastic development – Cellophane ®, Vinyl, Polyurethanes, Polystyrene, Nylon and Neoprene. The climb to plastic supremacy occurred after WWII with the advent of Polypropylene, Saran Wrap and Styrofoam.

Speed forward to today. As you’re reading this, take a look around to notice the plastic invading your life. Grocery bags, food packaging, furniture, pharmaceutical bottles, cosmetics, storage containers, toiletries, clothing, etc. It’s everywhere and not just in our homes. It’s in our streets, blowing along until caught in our parks. It’s in our shopping malls, subways and sports centers, carelessly dropped because it has no value. It’s in our oceans – all across our oceans – where it’s floating, choking, biomagnifying, and killing helpless marine mammals and beach wildlife.

It’s time for action. The Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Modern humans have been on it for 200,000 years. We’ve spent 99.95% of our time here without plastic.

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