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The Plastic Bag: An American History

The story of the plastic bag—the kind that is so ubiquitous in grocery stores, in gutters, in the branches of trees—is a story of persuasion, one that began with a battle between paper and plastic in the hearts of the American people.

Nechama Brodie, piqd Now you can follow Evergreene Digest on Facebook


Sunday, 05 August 2018 | Plastic represents both the function and the folly of modern human technology. It is clever, versatile, and virtually ubiquitous. We need plastic, but only once. Most of it is disposed of after a single use, virtually never recycled. We now have a mid-ocean plastic garbage patch that is larger than most countries. In an attempt to mitigate the problem, many restaurants have recently begun to ban single-use plastic straws — only to replace them with ... plastic sippy cups.

In between the science, the rhetoric, and the economic pros and cons, plastic's history and evolution in human society highlights the tangible connections between all its parts and explains, in part, the deliberate effort to make us into a plastic planet. Brodie works as a freelance reporter, based in Johannesburg, and has contributed to local and international titles including the Sunday Times, Mail & Guardian, City Press, the Hindustan Times, Wanted (the Business Day magazine), Marie Claire, ELLE, Women’s Health and Men’s Health, VISI, TASTE, Smith Journal and the UK Guardian. 

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