The enduring properties of plastics materials can have negative connotations, especially in relation to the pollution of land and oceans by poorly managed waste streams, single-use products, and those that are carelessly thrown away. Those same material characteristics can be put to good use to make objects that help people survive and thrive in stressful and difficult environments.
To endure a situation, whether by choice or circumstance, places specific demands on individuals and the equipment they choose to use. Objects made of plastics are used to provide water that is safe to drink when there is none readily available or ease the burden of carrying clean water long distances. By contrast, they can help prevent flood waters from entering our homes. Plastics are used in objects that are designed to support successful food production in arid climates, help to keep us safe from disease and offer protection from the elements in a crisis. They can be used to protect us from intense heat and flames, and conversely help us to sustain prolonged effort or activity in sub-zero temperatures and on snow.
Objects on display show how good design and the right choice of plastics materials can play a part in reducing risk to life and help us to survive in a variety of situations, including out at sea, in the air, and when travelling at high speed.
This exhibition will be on display until 10th March 2023 in the museum and is also available online.