Blurred picture of a town on a hill.
My town, seen through a plastic bottle. My picture.

Plastic fantastic?

If only we could come up with a huge and compelling use case for waste plastic. Not just the occasional “made from recycled carrier bags” stamped on a carrier bag, but a vast commercial need for waste plastic because it’s the cheapest and most uniquely effective raw material for making — what?

We liked ivory once, and now elephants are scarce. We liked whale meat, whale bone, whale oil, et cetera, and now whales are even closer than we are to extinction. Neither ivory nor whale meat is easier than plastic to get, and unlike them, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch wouldn’t fight back.

We keep logging companies in business with all the uses we can find for wood from tropical rainforests. Heck — if we’re talking about resources that aren’t easy to get, we drill under oceans and deserts to get at fossil fuels. If only we could find a way of that-desperately wanting the resource that’s lying around on the surface.

If only we could channel some of our ingenuity into making our waste plastic essential. If only we could need what we have already.



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William Essex

William Essex


Author, The First-Novelist's Guide to Getting Started, The Journey from Heaven, God - The Interview, Escape Mutation, Ten Steps to a Bedtime Story.