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Plastic: A Toxic Love Story | [Susan Freinkel]

Plastic: A Toxic Love Story

Plastic built the modern world. Where would we be without bike helmets, baggies, toothbrushes, and pacemakers? But a century into our love affair with plastic, we're starting to realize it's not such a healthy relationship. Plastics draw dwindling fossil fuels, leach harmful chemicals, litter landscapes, and destroy marine life. As journalist Susan Freinkel points out in this engaging and eye-opening book, we're nearing a crisis point.
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Publisher's Summary

Plastic built the modern world. Where would we be without bike helmets, baggies, toothbrushes, and pacemakers? But a century into our love affair with plastic, we're starting to realize it's not such a healthy relationship. Plastics draw dwindling fossil fuels, leach harmful chemicals, litter landscapes, and destroy marine life. As journalist Susan Freinkel points out in this engaging and eye-opening book, we're nearing a crisis point. We're drowning in the stuff, and we need to start making some hard choices. Freinkel gives us the tools we need with a blend of lively anecdotes and analysis. She combs through scientific studies and economic data, reporting from China and across the United States to assess the real impact of plastic on our lives. She tells her story through eight familiar plastic objects: comb, chair, Frisbee, IV bag, disposable lighter, grocery bag, soda bottle, and credit card. Her conclusion: we cannot stay on our plastic-paved path. Plastic points the way toward a new creative partnership with the material we love to hate but can't seem to live without.

©2011 Susan Freinkel (P)2011 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (47 )
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3.9 (34 )
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  •  
    Danya United States 12-30-12
    Danya United States 12-30-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Immensely entertaining and informative"

    Never before have I so thoroughly enjoyed reading about materials science, manufacturing, and ecological issues!

    This book is packed with information about the development and impact of plastics within the past few decades, drawing from research articles, interviews, and site visits. The facts and views presented are sufficiently technical to ensure one's trust in the objectivity of the topics, as well as maintain the interest of an engineer or enthusiastic hobbyist; still, in no way did I find the writing to be difficult for any layperson to understand. As a mechanical engineer myself, I found I still learned a great deal about different kinds of plastics and their post-consumer roles.

    But perhaps more importantly, I found the author's writing to be delightful. Susan playfully weaves a quirky narrative about her journey to dissect the plastics world, enlivening the technical topics. The narrator also speaks so comfortably and easily that I would have thought that she wrote the text herself, truly capturing the author's fun spirit.

    If you are an engineer, designer, or some other professional in the consumer goods industry, read this. If you are interested in environmental debates, read this. If you are simply interested to learn how, in only a few decades, we came to live in a plastics-filled world, read this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States 06-10-12
    Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States 06-10-12 Member Since 2005

    mostly nonfiction listener

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Biography of Plastic"

    A Challenge: Write down every object that you use in one day that is all or part plastic. Also write down a list of the objects that you use that day that contain no plastics. Maybe even share your list with all of us.

    Plastic dominates our life to such a degree that we hardly notice it anymore. Our post-industrial information economy runs on plastics made from petroleum products. And what is amazing is that our plastic economy is a fairly recent development. You are related to people who grew up in a non-plastic economy.
    Plastic: A Toxic Love Story covers the history, science, economics, and politics of plastic.

    My brain works best if I can try to understand the world through a narrow frame, the big picture through a single object. Freinkel's biography of plastic makes for a good story, and she tells it with the right balance of personal antidote, storytelling, and reporting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L LA JOLLA, CA, United States 09-12-13
    L LA JOLLA, CA, United States 09-12-13 Member Since 2013
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    "great book, bad narrator"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Listen to this book only if you don't have time to read it. The narrator was terrible. She used bizarre folksy tones of voice in inappropriate places (like when she was apparently trying to spice up some factual dialogue that was meant to be informative, not harrowing, hilarious, or any other odd emotion she tried to glaze it with). She also butchered pronunciation of several basic scientific terms (and even just some basic words - like ethanol!).


    How could the performance have been better?

    The narrative style would be better suited for a novel. For this book, the narration was just horrible.


    Any additional comments?

    Wonderfully factual account of the history of plastic in industrialized America, and how our growing obsession with it disturbingly destructive. Very well written, organized, researched. An interesting and informative book that everyone should read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sailingsoon TAMPA, FL, US 10-16-12
    sailingsoon TAMPA, FL, US 10-16-12 Member Since 2012
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    "to many..."
    What disappointed you about Plastic?

    To much little details about not important things like for ex. the curves and of a specific chair
    created by....bla bla bla....


    What could Susan Freinkel have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Perhaps more in depth research for more substance regarding the subject


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Plastic?

    Most of the historical(insignificant)details of plastic products(like chairs and designers taste, ect)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 09-01-12
    Tim United States 09-01-12 Member Since 2010

    Not a mainstream reader.

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    "One Subject of Plastic"

    For some reason, I found this book to be extremely interesting. It's all about plastic. Instead on a riot how plastic is bad for us, Susan Freinkel strictly stick to one subject of plastic and she express very little personal rhetoric on the subject. If you want to know how plastic came about and the future of the material, then you have to listen to this title. As you start reading, it should take you back to school, where you are taking chemistry again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda United States 05-14-12
    Amanda United States 05-14-12 Member Since 2012
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    "great book about plastics!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Only certain friends that would be concerned with plastic in their life.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The medical aspect of plasic.
    And the plastic bag.
    The book is great at explaining why plastic came about and how each item the writter hones in on made way for more and more plasic to invade our lives with out us barely noticeing.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, the chapter about the chair was a little over the top boring. But I appreciate how thourgh she was from the begining of the chair to how we came to a plasic chair. Almost as if you need to master the concept of the chair before understanding the simplicity of a chair being one (plastic) piece.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula United States 01-29-12
    Paula United States 01-29-12 Member Since 2010

    I want to read books that take me to a "place and/or time" I've never been. On the other hand, I love reading about places where I HAVE been.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Plastic-Love it, Hate it"

    Plastic. You've gotta love it. You've gotta hate it. All you've ever wondered about hula hoops, IV bags, plastic shopping bags, Frisbees, Bic lighters, plastic furniture and more! We can't get away from plastic. We even carry plastic in our bodies, says lab tests. I hope it helps preserve my skin. I wonder if it is causing increased incidences of autism. So many weird things to make us worry, Reading can be enlightening, reading can be scary. Reading about Plastic is enlightening AND scary.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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