, 9 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Good question. Here's why treating plastics as one kind of thing in science and activism isn’t useful and can even cause harm.
A thread.
#plasticpollution #plasticspollution
Plastic = many polymers with many associated chemicals. A paper by @ChelseaRochman et al "Rethinking microplastics as a diverse contaminant suite" warns that treating plastics as a single compound misses effects, sources & solutions
Likewise, single-use can include medical plastics, disposable packaging & other items. Conflating them can cause harm. E.g. straw bans: see @DisVisibility on how disabled people use straws to create livable worlds. #suckitableism
Historically, plastics replaced ivory, coral, silk & natural shellac, which were threatening animals. They were artisan products. Only after 1945 plastics became cheap, mass-produced, disposable items (see Meikle: American Plastic).
I've talked w/ @FrankNewsUS on how plastics are also kin: we have responsibilities to them, even when they misbehave. Obligation & responsibility require SPECIFICITY--you have diff obligations to your daughter than to the mail carrier. Same with plastics.
W/o differentiating b/w medical plastics (while also making them less toxic, as per noharm.org) and other single-use plastic, or the diff b/w PVC (so many chemicals!!) & silicon (not so many) we can't be properly responsible to the problems & ethics of plastics.
@jodyaroberts writes about this issue: his fear and dislike of plastics confronted by the medical plastics that keep his daughter alive. These are the grounds for ethics: specificity, context, nuance & responsibility to them.
Plastics have been other than they are now (not mass-produced, not cheap, not disposable) and they are many things now (used as pollution-for-profit, also used to give life). We have to know the differences to maneuver the plastics problem ethically. /fin
There's no such thing as "plastic." Only plasticS. Please proceed accordingly.
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