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Nechama Brodie
Author, fact-checker and academic
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piqer: Nechama Brodie
Sunday, 05 August 2018

The Plastic Bag: An American History

Plastic represents both the function and the folly of modern human technology. It is clever, versatile, and virtually ubiquitous. We need plastic, but only once. Most of it is disposed of after a single use, virtually never recycled. We now have a mid-ocean plastic garbage patch that is larger than most countries. In an attempt to mitigate the problem, many restaurants have recently begun to ban single-use plastic straws — only to replace them with ... plastic sippy cups.

In between the science, the rhetoric, and the economic pros and cons, plastic's history and evolution in human society highlights the tangible connections between all its parts and explains, in part, the deliberate effort to make us into a plastic planet.

This essay interleaves economic, political and social histories, and personal insights to shed some prosaic light onto an often opaque subject. It also features beautiful photographs.

The Plastic Bag: An American History
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