Plastic is inanimate and cannot be evil – what’s morally wrong is what humans do with it

Posted on June 5, 2018 in Comment by . Share this article

With plastic use in the news a lot these days, you might think that all plastic is an environmental evil that must be eradicated. But Director of the Grantham Centre Professor Tony Ryan has spent his life working with plastic and wonders if we’re too quick to denounce it. Explaining the complexities of plastic has taken Tony all over recently – from Australian radio to Bordeaux. Here’s a round up of his activities in case you missed them.

From Tony’s article in The Conversation:

“You benefit from plastic from the moment you get up and use your toothbrush or kettle. Plastic is embedded in agriculture – and it keeps you alive if you end up in hospital. Even some of our money is made from it. Yet I can’t watch the news without being bombarded by the evils of plastic. As a polymer scientist, it feels like my life’s work is dismissed as immoral by even my hero Sir David Attenborough, simply because I deal with plastics. But plastic itself is inanimate and cannot be evil – what’s morally wrong is what humans do with it.” Read on

Tony was also in all 3 episodes of the BBC Radio 4 programme Plastic Fantastic, which examined our love hate relationship with plastic. You can listen to that here

At the Bordeaux Polymer Conference, Tony chaired a panel discussion ‘Is innovation still the answer to our global issues’, which you can watch here

And an Australian radio show created a cartoon of Tony, inspired by his insistence that the presenters ‘drop their polymers’! You can listen to the conversation that inspired the cartoon here

‘Drop the polymers right now’