The United States throws out 25 billion plastic water bottles each year; a ‘patch’ of plastic garbage twice the size of Texas now swirls in the center of the Pacific Ocean. From its invention in 1907, plastic and plastic-derived chemicals have worked their way into the rungs of every food chain on Earth. Plastic might be the newest nutrient in the planet’s ecosystems, but so far, nature has yet to find a use for it. The only sensible way to think of plastic is as a raw Next Nature material, waiting for its balancing counterpart to evolve. We only have time: the average plastic bag will linger for your great grandchildren to clean up 1,000 years from now.
Did you know there are more plastic flamingos in the USA than real ones? Plastic flamingos are widely considered to be the stereotypical example of lawn kitsch – the American’s answer to garden dwarfs. Designed in 1957 by Don Featherstone while working for Union Products, the pink flamingo has gone…
We already know that bananas are evidence of intelligent design – by farmers, not by god. All commercial crops have been tweaked by the hand of agriculture, but modern bananas reflect perfectly the human need for ergonomics, transportability, and ease of eating. As can be seen in the grocery store…
Imagine humankind would magically disappear from the planet today. We would leave the ruins of cities, roads, cars and… plastics. Since its invention in 1907, plastic steadily worked its way into the geology of Earth. As plastics hardly break down they could survive humankind. Artist Britt Duppen envisions that, in…
Do you know how much oil you use per day? Neither did director John Webster. In 2005 he decided to make a documentary about oil from his own families perspective. How would it be to live a life without fossile-based products? John put a ban on things packaged in plastic…
Fakeness is traditionally associated with inferiority; cheap Rolexes that break in two weeks, plastic Christmas trees, leaking silicone breasts, imitation caviar… However, in a society in which everything is a copy of a copy, the ‘fake’ seems to gain a certain authenticity. Can you imagine anything more classy and luxurious…
Reef crocheted from plastic bags
We tend to think of plastic as a cheap, inferior and ugly material used to make children’s toys, garden furniture and throwaway bottles. But as an experiment, imagine for a moment a world in which plastic was extremely rare, like gold or platinum, and plastic objects were devastatingly expensive to produce.…Read more
'There is no longer such a thing as a pristine sandy beach. The ones that look pristine are usually groomed, and if you look closely, you will always find plastic particles that have been washed up by the tides'
Koert van Mensvoort
The Soul is a Plastic Bag
In this stunning short by Ramin Bahrani, the title character spends a lifetime (or more) on a quest for a creator not even aware of his existence.
Bird spotting is not a typical activity for us next nature explorers, yet occasionally we bump into some birds worth mentioning (remember the amazing copy-paste bird, rubber duck XL, the wild birds illegally immigrating into city Zoo, or the plastic flamingos that almost became extinct?…Read more
Designing Bugs That Eat Plastic
It is a well known secret that plastic hardly breaks down and almost all of the plastic ever made still floats around somewhere. With the great pacific garbage patch now twice the size of Texas and over 500 billion plastic bags produced a year – which take about a 1000 years to decompose – plastic is well on its way of becoming a basic material in the Earth’s ecosystem.…Read more