Tag: plastics

Bakelite: The Beginnings of the Plastics Era


About 110 years ago, the plastics era (as we understand that term) began with a material called Bakelite named by its creator and inventor Leo Baekeland.

Leo Hendrick Baekeland was born on November 14, 1863, in Ghent, Belgium, to Karel and Rosalia Baekeland. His father was a cobbler while his mother worked as a housemaid. He was a bright young man who, encouraged primarily by his mother, read anything he could get his hands on.

Leo Hendrick Baekeland.

A Young Person We Should Honor (Not Named Thunberg)

One of the consequences of our narrative-consumed media culture is the glorification of 16-year-old truants who are manipulated and victimized (some say abused) by activist adults. Somehow, such symbolic individuals, with no real knowledge, training or experience make their way onto the cover of magazines. Meanwhile, a 21-year-old student, Reed College senior and budding scientist who has not only stayed in school but has actually done something that could prove meaningful in the global cause to reduce plastic pollution. After all, that which gets rewarded gets repeated.
It’s a real issue. The globe produces about 450 million tons of plastic every year, and about 8 million tons of it winds up in our oceans. These plastics last on average 15 years.

Morgan Vague is that Reed College student. She discovered a microbe that eats certain forms of PET, a commonly used plastic. This is amazing, but don’t expect any Nobel prizes or a person of the year award, since Morgan doesn’t appear to be getting any attention or support from so-called environmental groups. They seem more interested in the 16-year-old truant who screams at us.

Kudos to Morgan and her discovery. May the world take note.

There’s a Great Future in Plastics. Think About it.


Years ago, when plastics were just starting to appear in our lives — I’m 64 — the thing we all hated about the trend was plastic’s serious structural drawbacks. How did we know about them? Because many common elements broke, especially when a plastic part was used to replace what was formerly a metal part. Remember how the internal car door and window handles used to break?

Slowly, over the years, things improved. Now we have really good plastics and really good applications for plastics. But there are still way too many unpardonable designs getting built by people who should know better. Do these manufacturers ever send people out to see how their products are used, holding up, or damaged? How are they holding up in their own shops? Aren’t they embarrassed?

Member Post


Our betters in the California state legislature have passed a ban on plastic grocery sacks. Signed into law by Governor Brown redux, the law begins to take effect next July.In a state where budget realities force Democrats to choose between boondoggles, this should come as no surprise. As a Californian and grocery shopper, the ban will […]

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