Plastics and packaging

29Apr08

This morning I read an interesting article about the role and impacts of plastics in our globalized world. FT weekend edition booklet (FT Weekend, 26/27 April 2008) characterizes it as:

“man-made, virtually indestructible and it symbolizes everything everything that is wrong with our throwaway consumer culture”

There is actually a Museum of Brands, in Notting Hill, West London, that shows the public the evolution of plastics and packages ever since before the 1960s.

Plastic packaging – lots of pro and con arguments are offered. Are plastics making our lives easy while simply making it more complicated due to “they should be recycled but they’re not really” issue? True, they make things cheaper (transportation costs, packaging, energy-comsuming-wise too), but where do they go afterwards? I truly don’t know. Does it make it more of a mess than it really is? What beneficial roles do plastics play in nowadays world (globalized, climate-change-freaked out, generations getting older)?

It makes life easier
It made supply chains evolve (e.g. less waste)
Made shopping easier
…we can go as far as to acknowledge the evolution of cities and emancipation of women to plastics!!??? Well, Searle (CEO of the Packaging Federation) certainly loves plastics!

On the other hand one thing seems to be true:

“societies without sophisticated packaging lose half their food before it reaches consumers”

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