Not Created Equal: The history and discernment of plastics in product design

This is a talk from Ignite Portland in 2010, in which I attempt to convince an audience of skeptics that polymers are actually valuable, worthwhile materials and (in many cases) ecologically superior to more “natural” alternatives. It includes a brief history of plastics in product design, a discussion of how what used to be a sought-after wonder  material became a synonym for “cheap knockoff”, and a proposal for how we might shift our perceptions to value plastics in their own right — and discourage their disposability in the process.

Based roughly on a 2007 article on Core77 (now available only through