Plastic surprisingly influential in US culture

Plastic surprisingly influential in US culture


“Are you listening?” “Yes.” “Plastics.” Plastic isn’t usually considered the most
exciting thing. But some people might argue the material is
a cultural icon. “There’s a great future in plastics.” “This is Tupperware. The air-tight containers that keep foods fresher,
longer.” “Get these lovely, washable plastic roses,
free.” “Check in the yellow pages under Housewares
or Plastics.” “And take another look at plastics.” In 2012, experts from the Smithsonian Institution
said we were living in the “Age of Plastic.” From water bottles to grocery bags, plastic
seems ideal because it’s cheap, durable and disposable. Outside of consumer goods, plastic is also
used in medical supplies. “For a safer, more brilliant tomorrow. Plastics make it possible.” But for all the good the material may have
done, plastic has also become the modern symbol of wastefulness. Eight million metric tons of it ends up in
oceans each year. Those cutesy vintage plastic goods from the
20th century are now collecting dust in museums, and many people are cutting disposable plastics
out of their lives. “This relationship isn’t working. It isn’t good for me. I met someone else.” Earth Day’s 2018 campaign is focused on ending
plastic pollution by “changing human attitude and behavior about plastics.” “Why is everyone stressing over this thing? I mean, it’s just plastic. I could really just…” *GASP* Efforts like this are important, as past research
shows that cultural participation can help make environmental policies more effective. Outside of policy, we can see the rise of
this anti-plastic pollution culture through the growing popularity of tote bags and reusable
water bottles. The rise may be more for fashion than environmentalism, but fashion is pretty lucrative. According to 2016 research, the reusable water
bottle market is expected to rise to a valuation of more than $10 billion by 2024.

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