As a child, I was extremely fascinated (and still am) by Greek Mythology. I could never get enough of the stories that are about the origin and nature of the world and the life of the gods, heroes and mythological creatures.
One of the stories that fascinated most was that of king Midas. This guy loved gold and by loving; I really mean loving! After having rescued the drunk satyr Silenus and returning him to Dionysus, he was granted a wish. Being fond of gold; Midas wished that everything he touches would turn into gold. The wish was granted and Midas initially turned out to be one of the happiest kings that ever lived; His clothes, his castle, his carriage; everything turned in the material that he was so fond of. He loved it.
That was, until he went for dinner…
I have another fascination and that is polymers (or by some people called “plastics”). Once I started studying chemical engineering, I fell immediately attracted to this fascinating field. An attraction that was promoted thanks to inspiring and motivated teachers.
I cannot stress how much I love this material, its properties and numerous applications. It’s readily available, can be transformed in any form and shape you wish, affordable. Needless to say that I love wearing clothes made from plastics (polyester and nylon), like furniture made from plastics (polyesters and PVC and PP). I like the insulating polymers in my house that keep me warm, PVC on the floor and around the windows and melamine kitchen blades.
Actually; I value plastics more than gold for the prosperity they bring us.
What I don’t like is the way that we deal with these plastics when they are end of life. In many cases; these are just disposed; sometimes even in rivers where it eventually ends in the seas. I felt we have all became King Midas. The problem got so out of hand that we are even forced to ingest plastics as we seem to find them in our food chain.
Today started the campaign “Mei plastic vrij” translated as “May Plastic Free”. It seems that many dislike plastics so much that they want to get rid of them all the way. I don’t.
What if we start to see the value of plastics? How plastic gloves and mouth masks protect us, how packaging make our foods safe and increase shelf life. How they keep our houses warm and provide affordable products.
What if we treat plastics just as we treat gold? I think that this shift in mindset would solve much of the issues we currently have with this wonderful material. Agree?