Plastics have dramatically changed the way we live, but some people question the merits of those changes. Through The Case of Plastics, CHF staff, teachers, students, and experts discuss and debate the past, present, and future of plastics.
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May 15, 2013 | by Sam Kean
“Permanent” does not always mean what museum curators would want it to as plastics in their care change over time. In his third and final post Sam Kean explores the dangers facing famous works of art.
Posted In: Health | Industry | Invention | Regulators | Sustainability | Waste
May 8, 2013 | by Sam Kean
We are often told that plastics are permanent, but plastics do change over time, often in nasty ways. In his second post Sam Kean explores some of the specific problems posed by different types of plastics.
May 1, 2013 | by Sam Kean
We are often told that plastics are permanent, but plastics do change over time, often in nasty ways. In a series of posts Sam Kean explores the unique problems of preserving plastic objects and art for posterity.
April 19, 2013 | by Dr. Bill Carroll
We’ve collected, separated out what we want, cleaned it up, and put it back in condition to be sold. But it’s not good for anything until someone uses it again—the final step in the recycling process.
April 5, 2013 | by Dr. Bill Carroll
Now that we’ve separated the stuff we want from what we don’t, we have to make it into something someone will buy. That’s step 3 in the recycling process—reprocessing.
March 22, 2013 | by Dr. Bill Carroll
Now that we have collected a big pile of stuff, we need to separate what we want from what we don’t want. This is part II of the recycling process and our four-part recycling series—separation.
March 20, 2013 | by Jane E. Boyd
Cups, containers, coolers, crafts: the white, light, squishy, and crumbly stuff we call “styrofoam” is everywhere. But what exactly is this stuff, and why is the mayor of New York City trying to get rid of it?
March 13, 2013 | by Stephanie Corrigan
After World War II the plastics industry worked hard to promote the benefits of new plastic products through any means they could—even beauty pageants!
Posted In: Industry
March 8, 2013 | by Dr. Bill Carroll
Recycling is a much-discussed method for disposing of plastics and other materials. But how does recycling work? Chemist and plastic industry executive Bill Carroll breaks the process down in a series of four posts, beginning with Collection.
March 6, 2013 | by Gigi Naglak
The first fully synthetic plastic, Bakelite has now become a museum piece and popular collector’s item. But how can you tell if your Bakelite is real or just another, similar-looking plastic?
Explore the fascinating history of chemistry and the role science plays in the modern world at our museum in Philadelphia.
Ein-O’s Box Kit, 1990s
©2010 Chemical Heritage Foundation