Where would we be without pacemakers, polyester, computers, cellphones, sneakers or chewing gum. (Plastic in gum? Yep!)
But a century into our love affair with plastic, we’re starting to realize it’s not such a healthy one. Plastics draw on dwindling fossil fuels, leach harmful chemicals, litter landscapes, and destroy marine life. And yet each year we use and consume more; we’ve produced as much plastic in the past decade as we did in the entire twentieth century. We’re trapped in an unhealthy dependence – a toxic relationship.
Journalist Susan Freinkel shows in this engaging and eye-opening book that we have reached a crisis point. Freinkel treks through history, science and the global economy to assess the real impact of plastic in our lives. She tells her story through eight familiar plastic objects: the comb, chair, Frisbee, IV bag, disposable lighter, grocery bag, soda bottle, and credit card. Each one illuminates a different facet of our synthetic world, and together they give us a new way of thinking about a substance that has become the defining medium—and metaphor—of our age.
Freinkel’s conclusion? We cannot stay on our plastic-paved path. And we don’t have to. Plastic points the way toward a new creative partnership with the material we love to hate but can’t seem to live without.