Author Susan Freinkel, writes Plastic: A Toxic Love Story“Who’d have thought that combs, Frisbees and lighters could have such secret histories and such disturbing futures?

Susan Freinkel’s page-turner brings together history, science and culture. All to consequently help us understand the plastic world. One that we have wrought. Also how it has become part of us.

Although we should all worry that plastics will persist for centuries. So this book also deserves to endure for years to come.

—Raj Patel, author of: The Value of Nothing

First of all, Plastic built the modern world. Where would we be without bike helmets, baggies, toothbrushes, and pacemakers? Also nowadays thermoplastic is being used on cars.

But a century into our love affair with plastic, oy. Because we’re starting to realize it’s not such a healthy relationship. Plastics draw on dwindling fossil fuels and leach harmful chemicals. As well as litter landscapes, and destroy marine life.

As journalist Susan Freinkel points out in this engaging and eye-opening book. Because we’re nearing a crisis point. We’ve produced as much plastic in the past decade as we did in the entire twentieth century. We’re drowning in the stuff, and we need to start making some hard choices.

Here are just a few of the fascinating, and often startling, revelations:

  1. In 1960, the average American consumed 30 pounds of plastics a year.  Today, just 50 years later, Americans consume on average 300 pounds a year.
  2. We’ve produced nearly as much plastic in the first ten years of the new millennium, as in the entire preceding century.

  3. All Americans now carry traces of dozens of synthetic chemicals in their bodies. That’s  including fire retardants, bactericides, pesticides, plasticizers and solvents. Also heavy metals, waterproofing agents, stain repellents, Teflon and other compounds. So even newborns harbor chemicals. On average 200, according to one study.

  4. More importantly, Plastic debris is now found in even the most remote places. Yes folks, like the Antarctic Ocean.

  5. Though most plastic can be recycled, almost none is. Only plastic beverage bottles and milk jugs, #1 and # 2 plastics are recycled in any great numbers. Even so, nearly three-fourths never get into the recycling stream, and instead wind up in landfill or incinerators

So Susan Freinkel gives us the tools we need with a blend of lively anecdotes and analysis. She also combs through scientific studies and economic data. Thereby reporting from China and across the United States. All to assess the real impact of plastic on our lives. She tells her story through eight familiar plastic objects: comb, chair, Frisbee, IV bag, disposable lighter, grocery bag, soda bottle, and credit card.

In conclusion: we cannot stay on our plastic and toxic paved path. And most importantly we don’t have to. Plastic points the way toward a new creative partnership with the material we love to hate but can’t seem to live without.

Source: Susan Frenkel

I was only given the book to review. It’s such a compelling book that I had to post about this book.