Plastic Celebrates The Big 1-0-0

by Renee

May 23, 2007

In 1907 a Belgian-American chemist named Leo Baekeland created a little ditty  phenol-formaldehyde polymer resin. CNN just posted an interesting article. Who knew that in only 100 years the consumption level of just one type called PVC would reach 16,000 million pounds in the US and Canada alone. In fact who knew that consumption of PVC in the US and Canada would increase 6,000 million pounds in 13 years (from 1994 to 2007).

In a report called "Economics of Phasing out PVC" by the Global Development and Environmental institute, writes "Polyvinyl chloride has grown from a little known material in the mid-twentieth century (used by the Navy for waterproofing in World War II, for example) to become one of the most widely used plastics today. Thanks to low prices and aggressive marketing, polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC or "vinyl", has become ubiquitous in our homes and communities. We encounter PVC on a daily basis in products ranging from children’s toys, packaging, and lawn furniture to water and sewer pipes, medical equipment, and building materials."

The report is pretty lengthy but an interesting read that touches on a broad introduction to vinyl and discusses alternatives in various materials. It ends with steps toward phasing out PVC.

I’d like to go into exactly what this stuff is, but its a warm day in San Fran and I’m headed back east.

See you on the flip side. (I dont think that works in this situation. We use to say it at this 24 hour diner at the start of the graveyard shift – oh well)

Take care. Renee.  


ps: So something that has been interesting to me as a social and environmental justice activist is understanding how useful inventions become dangerous to our well being. I’m sure since you are reading this blog (and found this blog in the first place) also know that Greenpeace had a pretty amazing Defending Our Oceans tour last year that started and ended confronting Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.

One piece of that tour involved studying trash vortex’s in the Pacific Ocean. You mean plastics end up killing not only those that live around manufacturing plants and poisoning us by leaching out of our water bottles, but it kills, strangles and otherwise is destroying our oceans?  Yeah . . . read this and check out just what our team found during the tour.



By Renee

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