Materials scientist Debbie Chachra is interviewed in The New Inquiry about the impending end of cheaply available plastic. This part really stuck with me:
But really, this is an opportunity to think about what should be made of plastic, and why. As the price of plastic creeps up, we can start bringing alternative materials online. A good example is switching disposable cutlery to bioderived, compostable plastics — there’s really no reason why something that has a functional life measured in minutes needs to be made of something like polystyrene that essentially lasts forever.
It also means, I hope, that we get better at recycling and it becomes more cost-effective. It’s not just about crunchy-granola save-the-earth stuff; it really offends my sense of efficiency as an engineer that most plastic just ends up sequestered in landfills. From a materials perspective, so many products are massively overengineered. So I’m hoping to see more cradle-to-cradle design with plastic.
The End of Plastic [The New Inquiry]