Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"Plastic is a design failure, it never dies" (?)

While out yachting yesterday with some chums on the good ship Rheothing and glancing through the newest offerings from Billionaire.com (gauche, I know, but there simply isn't a Multibillionaire.com site) I was between bites of Coquilles Saint-Jacques and sips of vintage Mo√ęt, (You were expecting me to say "Dom"? Oh good heavens! Most certainly not with Coquilles Saint-Jacques), when I came upon the most repulsive idea I have ever read:
I insisted to the captain that we must immediately dock, even if it was just in Newport, and that the Rheothing jet was to be waiting at the nearest airport so that I could get back home quickly and scribe a reply.

Oh where to begin. How about with the assumption that plastic never dies? Of course it does. Plastics are organic chemicals, vulnerable to degradation from oxygen, UV light, heat, ozone, mechanical stresses and more. That's why we add additives to plastics - to combat these problems. The additives help for a time, but they don't last forever as in many cases, they are organic chemicals themselves. This degradation drives museum curators batty trying to preserve art made from plastic.

Or maybe we can begin with the assumption that this is a design failure? No, the usefulness of plastics is in large part due to their inertness. The author of that inane article on billionaire.com is alive and well and able to post their mindless drivel because of the inertness of plastics. The keyboard that they type on, the mouse that they click, the coatings on the wires inside the computer and on the power cord and on the electrical circuitry in the walls of the home/office that they worked in and much more are all made of plastics, plastics that last for quite a long time. By design. Is the author really suggesting that the coating on electrical wires should have a shorter product life? Are they will to apologize for all the lives and property that will be damaged and lost because of their proposal to short out electrical systems (by design)?

Ironic picture of nasty plastic trash on a beach with a plastic surfboard
The site is so clueless as to have this photograph on the right accompanying the article. Yes, there is a lot of trash on the beach, but the surfer's board is made of plastic and their suit is also a polymeric material, both of which - by design - are intended to last for a very long time.

Anything made of metal is also - by design - intended to last a long time. So how come metals don't get the same bad rap as plastics?

Previous Years

May 31, 2011 - Plastics: A Toxic Love Story

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