May 18th, 2011


Plastic Fantastic

I'm reading Plastic: A Toxic Love Story by Susan Freinkel, and it's really excellent. I'm learning all sorts of things I never knew, including that Nathaniel Wyeth (brother of Andrew) invented the PET bottle - i.e., the #1 soda bottle. The section on plastic pollution in the oceans is even more terrifying than I expected.

It's one of those nonfiction books with narrative. There's explanation of how plastic is manufactured, different types of plastic, ways plastic is recycled and not recycled and the ramifications, all of it woven in and out of social history, mostly that of the United States, but also showing how plastics industries link the US to the rest of the world, for instance through China's emerging plastics industry. The author also weaves in interviews with people from a plastics executive to a guy who trashpicks bottles to recycle. She visited the major sorts of plants that manufacture, shape, and recycle plastics, sliding in the real-world information with the theoretical.

This would make terrific airplane reading. It seems to be working for the bus, as well!