Semester-long Project – Plastic

Plastic in daily life


1. single-use plastic: plastic bag, plastic fork, plastic knife, plastic water cup and bottle, plastic

2. plastic as container: shampoo container, skin cream container, ketchup container, storage box,plastic ikea bag

3. plastic as tools: plastic ruler, plastic comb, plastic scissor, plastic pen

4. plastic garment or for garment use:pvc bag,plastic hanger, plastic buttons, plastic zipper

5. plastic for electronic product: plastic phone case, plastic plug, plastic earphone, plastic wire

6. plastic in commute: plastic metro card, plastic chair, plastic advertisments frame, plastic billboard

Analysis:1. plastic as tools: plastic tools like plastic ruler,plastic scissor, plastic pen are also the things I used every day for homework. It is the same as the plastic containers, I throw them away if they were broken. I remember that when I was in my grandmother’s house. They have old tools which made by metal like metal ruler, metal pen. I think it would be more environmental friendly if we used wood tools like wood ruler, wood comb instead of using plastic. Since wood is also light as plastic but it is more degradable.

2. single-use plastic: I use this kind of plastic nearly everyday. Mostly are about throwaway tableware like plastic cup from school’s cafe or plastic bag from Mercy Market or CVS. They are usually in use for half an hour, during the meal. And then I just throw them away. It would  be better for environment if we bring our own bottle or fork with us or cloth bag as an alternative. Before the disposable plastic tableware is invented. People use ceramics, wood, metals like stainless steel to produce table ware.

3. plastic as container: Plastic containers are used in my life everyday. Like my plastic tooth-brushing cup, shampoo container, skin cream container. They are actually in use for 24 hours everyday. After the cream, shampoo running out or the container itself is broken, I would throw them away. I think it would be better if I use glass container like glass bottle instead of the plastic one. After the research I know that people mainly used paper to wrap food. They wrapped fresh meat with paper and they put sweets like cupcakes in paper bag. And for liquids, people mainly used glass bottles. There will be staff like milkman who collect those bottles everyday. And for drinks like beer or soda, people could get some money back if they returned the bottles to the store.

4. plastic for electronic product: Plastic is widely being used in electronic products like plastic insulated control cables, plastic earphones, plastic phone case for it is good in electric insulation and has a lightweight. I used them everyday as I cannot live without electric products. And if the plastic cracked or broken which affect usage effect, I would throw them away and buy a new one. During the research, I found out that before the plastic is invented, people used material like wood, sheet iron, ceramic as casing for different applications. For example, the first camera which can created permanent photographs was invented in1826 by Joseph Nicephore and was in a  sliding wooden box. I think it would be better if people use wood as an alternative material since wood is light, hard and also good in electric insulation.

5. Plastic in commute: On my way to school in subway, I noticed that plastic is everywhere like plastic metro card, plastic chair, plastic advertisments frame, plastic billboard. Especially the plastic metro cards, they are light and thin, but are more durable than normal paper. I take the subway to school every week day, over time, my metro card begin to demagnetize it so I have to purchase another one which is really not sustainable. Also when my friends come to visit New York from other places, they would usually purchase a new metro card since the previous one is lost or they forget to bring it. It is a huge waste and in my hometown, the subway station provides recycled one-way ticket.  The fare gate would retrieve your one-way ticket automatically when you go out. As a city which has many tourists, I think New York’s subway station could take these steps to make a recycled used of plastic.

6. plastic garment or for garment use: Pvc material is a trend in fashion recently. Many brand have launched products like pvc hand bag, pvc boots, pvc raincoats. Since  they have a futuristic and technology feeling. I don’t have any pvc garment but I have clothes that used plastic accessories like plastic buttons and plastic zippers.  In my design studio course, our professor told us that pvc material used in fashion is more about politics than aesthetic and trend. Since fabric like pvc represent low-price and approachable things which is a resist of luxury. It is the fabric as the statement of anti-fashion. So I think in order to achieve this goal in a sustainable way, designers could use recycled plastic as the material. The reutilization of plastic could not only reduce the waste but also meet the need of fashion.



For this project, I decide to make a collage poster about sea pollution of plastic bags. Plastic in the ocean causes great harm towards marine life directly. For example, sea turtles would mistake plastic bags as jellyfish and ingest them which cause the blockage of the intestines. The fish are consuming small particles of plastic thinking it is plankton or other food then the plastic enters the food chain of the ocean. Tons of plastic ending up in the ocean damages the marine ecosystem and inevitably will be harmful to the survival of the humanity.
For the collage, I want to create a image of a man wrapped by different kinds of plastic shopping bag that we see every day. The man is sitting on a chair in the center of the ocean. In the bottom of this collage poster, there is a slogan saying “ANYTHING BUT PLASTIC”. And besides the sentence are one clothes bag, one paper bag, one string bag and one basket which helps to call on people to use environmental-friendly bags instead of plastic bags.

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