Plastics are a group of materials that have no inherent shape, colour or texture. The amazing thing about them is that they can become anything we want them to be. They are celebrated for having a long life. At the same time – they are vilified for having a long life when they are in the wrong place. Nobody wants to see waste (of any kind) in our seas, on our beaches, in our streets. Plastics are particularly highlighted as an issue because they are so visible. One of plastics’ key features, its lightness, could actually be its downfall. It can be seen floating in water, blowing in the wind and caught in trees as litter.
These pages explore the impact single-use plastics have on the environment, with particualr interest in the PET water bottle. They will look at alternative materials such as bioplastics, human behaviour, and how plastics can be beneficial to the environment.
 Paul Burall, Green Design (London: The Design Council, 1991). 42