Conflicts in Chemistry: The Case of Plastics

  Dow Historical Collection, Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives Midway: Message from the Gyre, Photograph by Chris Jordan
 

You have been invited to participate in a hearing regarding a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regulation to reduce plastic waste in the United States. During the hearing, experts on all sides will argue for their position on plastics and will propose changes to the Regulation. The EPA Regulators will choose the regulation that best addresses the issue of plastic waste.

Plastic is a particularly controversial contributor to the country’s solid-waste problem because of its persistence in the environment. But plastics are also vital to scientific and economic development and essential to life as we know it. The goal of this Regulation is thus to effectively reduce plastic waste in a practical, manageable way.

 

Get the Facts

Prepare for the debate by reading the background materials listed below. They will help you understand the science of plastics and the history of the conflict over plastics’ production, use, and disposal. Begin with the Introduction.

Make Your Case

Select your icon to access resources specific to your group and to learn about the other members of your group.