Monthly Archives: May 2011

Blight to Beauty

Plastic shopping bags may be a blight on the landscape, but Jessica Lee, a student at Parsons The New School of Design, has found that these puffs of polyethylene also contain a certain hidden grace. For her thesis project, Lee … Continue reading

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To Burn or Not to Burn

The U.S. has a dismal record recycling used plastics: scarcely seven percent get a shot at a second life. But the plastics industry is starting to rally behind a new option for dealing with plastic waste: burning it for energy. … Continue reading

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Plastic Portraits

Tess Felix, a Bay Area artist, wrote me recently about work she has been doing with plastic beach debris.  Felix said she first got the idea after a huge storm in February, 2010: [It] washed tons of plastic garbage out … Continue reading

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Dispatches from battles of the bag (updated)

I’ve been meaning for some time now to do an update on the ongoing fight over plastic bags.  It is, forgive the pun, a mixed bag. On the plus side: the suburban D.C. area of Montgomery County, Maryland, passed a … Continue reading

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Creative lids

There’s a great piece by Nicola Twilley at on the rise of the disposable coffee cup lid, and the astonishing variety of ways in which designers have responded to the challenge of capping a portable hot cup of joe. … Continue reading

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God in three easy steps….

Open. Bless. Toss. Who knew you could get salvation on the go: A friend told me about these single-use communion kits. I looked online and discovered several companies offer these portable  communion kits, which, as one company put it, “combine … Continue reading

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Sometimes a chair is more than a chair

This essay is adapted from my book and appeared on the Speakeasy at on May 7: The Kartell store in San Francisco is a monument to plastic. The place glitters like a diamond, or rather, a cubic zirconium — … Continue reading

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