Life in Plastic...
The fascination with and enthusiasm for plastic is just as great as the list of problems, risks and studies associated with its use is long. The fascination with and enthusiasm for plastic is just as great as the list of problems, risks and studies associated with its use is long. Most types of plastic that we use every day are nearly non-degradable - and as time goes by, they release many of their often hormonally efficacious additives into the environment. Then, spread by wind, water or illegal waste disposal in the ocean, they are found throughout our entire planet – even in oceanic regions far removed from civilisation. Even today, polar bears and Beluga whales remain contaminated with plasticisers used in the 1960s and '70s – which, according to a current WWF study, impairs their capacity for reproduction.
However, the most urgent and significant problem arises due to a certain property of plastic which was initially very sought-after: its high durability. A phenomenon of simply incredible enormity has collected in the Pacific Ocean, approx. 2,000 km northwest of Hawaii: a "floating carpet" of plastic particles with an area the size of Central Europe; for every kilogram of plankton, there are six kilograms of plastic waste. By the time it degrades (in approx. 500 years), animals in their ocean habitat will swallow these particles and perish.
Currently, the only solution lies in recycling: the process which Professor Michael Braungart seeks to revolutionise: Cradle to Cradle. If he has his way about it, everything would have to be re-invented: each material used must be non-toxic, and the individual components of a product must be separable from each other. Only in this form can they be re-used as a top-quality raw material or returned to the disposal cycle as a degradable substance. He has also already found strong allies to support him in the realisation of this solution: for instance, FORD, NIKE or the world's largest carpet manufacturer, SHAW.
- Director Bertram Verhaag
- Director of Photography Waldemar Hauschild
- Editor Verena Schönauer
- Sound Zoltan Ravasz