Thursday, 27 September 2018

A Plea for Plastics

Having newly started as the Museum Engagement Officer at MoDiP, I knew the job would have a strong focus on the significance of plastics, but I didn’t realise quite how this would change my everyday perception of the material and my attitude towards it.

With a background of conservation and a love for all things natural, surely, I would feel like a fish out of water? Little did I know…

Who knew? That Plastics can be natural and/or derived from organic material.

Who knew? That Plastics are sourced, used and reused sustainably on many levels.

Who knew? That Plastics represent the democratic material group – accessible for all.

With this positivity in mind, I am starting this role with an ethical, upbeat spring in my step, relishing the opportunity to spread the word.  I even wrote a poem about it:

  Plastics of Our Time

Plastic is natural

Rubber and amber

Come take a gander

Plastic is veggie

Cotton, cane and corn

Made from this form

Plastic is artful

Dress and accessary

Design a necessity

Plastic is useful

Essential…and flighty

Please use it wisely

Everywhere I go now, I can’t help but notice plastic - the use, the aesthetics, the essential need for it every day, everywhere for everybody.  Instead of the negative narrative that plastics have attracted of late (due to our own thoughtless, throwaway culture of single use plastic), a new positive picture is gradually being painted.  Yes, as humans, we mess things up, but also, as humans, we make things better and learn from our mistakes. 

One thing is for sure, we are essentially creative beings, and plastic is something that has to be created. Every plastic item has to be thought up, designed and produced. The only restriction of making items out of plastic, is the limit of our imagination. 

So, let’s celebrate acetate, bask in the Bakelite and party on in all things PVC…!

Celebrate Acetate with these crazy, colourful shoes.

Bask in the Bakelite of this illuminated, darning aid from the 40s.

Party on in PVC – in fact it is just the hidden ‘spacers’ on these glasses that are PVC, but they are crucial for holding it all together while on the dance floor.

To arrange a visit – whether you’re an internal or external group – please email:

Julia Pulman (Museum Engagement Officer)

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