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Everything I ever wanted to know about plastics, but was afraid to ask

I recently finished reading the book, Plastic, A Toxic Love Story, by Susan Freinkel. It was an eye opener for me. Plastic is something I've just not wanted to get into. Over the past few years, don't get me wrong, I've worked hard to eliminate many plastics from our lives. But its ubiquitousness can be exhausting. You find out on a regular basis how many far-fetched things have plastic in them. Metal food cans. Chewing gum, for crying out loud!

Plastic, A Toxic Love Story examines seven common plastic items: plastic lawn chair, comb, disposable lighter, grocery bag, IV bag, water bottle and Frisbee. And through that lens, taught me everything I want to know about plastics. I learned about the various resins, and why what works for a yogurt cup won't work for a fizzy-pop bottle. I learned that most credit and gift cards are made of PVC (boo! hiss! evil PVC!). As are IV bags. Gulp (note to self: try not to be hospitalized). I gained a grudging acceptance of the future of bioplastics. Quite simply, this book tells the interesting and engaging stories behind the lifecycles of these common plastic items, and the sometimes surprising ways humans and other animals interact with them. And accidentally become 'a little bit plastic.'

If you are like me, and don't know much about plastics, and glaze over when talk of the chemical building blocks of plastics come up, this is the book for you. Do I sound like I'm doing a third grade book report speech? I hope so. One gripe: in the chapter on the plastic 'monobloc' chair I would have liked some pictures of the earlier plastic chairs designed by Panton and Starck (Louis Ghost). They were easy enough to Google, but still. Except for the cover, this book has no pictures. Overall, I enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it if you're just getting started on your understanding of the complex business of plastics.


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