In 1941, when the production of everyday plastics commenced on a mass scale, V.E Yarsley, a chemist for B.X. Plastics Ltd, extolled the virtues of this “tough, safe, clean material which human thought has created”, the perfect expression of the new planned scientific control and the coming of the Plastics Age.
With over 10 000 types of polymers now in use, worldwide consumption of plastic from barely measurable in 1940 to 260 million tons per annum, accounting for 8 per cent of world oil production. Plastics have revolutionized our daily lives, from the start of the day when brushing ones’ teeth with a plastic toothbrush to the end of the day coming home to a soup from a can lined in plastic. More than any other material, plastic has become dually emblematic of economic abundance as well as ecological destruction as it is most often used in the containerization and single-use food packaging. Made in part from petroleum, plastics have become a marker for on the one hand dwindling natural resources and on the other rising unnatural pollution refusing to go away due to their permanent nature. This information campaign had a dual purpose: create a reusable design alternative to single-use plastic bags in the form of an ancient Japanese furoshiki, or cloth packaging, as well an outdoor information stand that handed out free bags made out of second-hand cloth.