Talking head
Cascadia Ruby 2013

This presentation, by Carl Alviani, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0

The idea of plastics as cheap substitute materials has been wide spread for decades -- sometimes justifiably, but frequently not. In use since the mid 19th century, polymers come in an incredible variety of types, and have been seen in surprisingly different ways. There are, in fact, plenty of historical examples of plastics as explicitly desirable materials, known by name and sought after by consumers; some recent trends suggest that may happen again. This presentation gives an overview of polymers in history, fads they spawned and reacted to, and the developments that lead to their alternating embrace and ridicule. It also looks at the consequences of these trends. While potentially the most recyclable materials on earth, public perceptions of polymers and the designs they encourage actually work to keep them disposable; the presentation concludes with steps to combat this.

Rated: Everyone
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