The History of Plastic

For centuries, the world exclusively used pure natural resources extracted from the environment. These materials include metal, and wood. Also, ivory, tortoiseshell, horn and other animal derived products. The first synthetic plastic polymer was developed by John Wesley Hyatt in 1869. The discovery spurred excitement. People were intrigued by the idea of an artificial material. Improvements in plastics followed in time, until plastic became an integral aspect of modern society. Innovations in the medical, manufacturing and construction industries followed increasing quality of life. Single use plastic packaging, durable disposable grocery bags, and Barbie became staples of America. But life in plastic is not so fantastic. The Science History Institute unfolds the historical case against plastic as so:

“Plastic debris in the oceans was first observed in the 1960s, a decade in which Americans became increasingly aware of environmental problems. Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, Silent Spring, exposed the dangers of chemical pesticides. In 1969 a major oil spill occurred off the California coast and the polluted Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire, raising concerns about pollution… Plastic’s reputation fell further in the 1970s and 1980s as anxiety about waste increased. Plastic became a special target because, while so many plastic products are disposable, plastic lasts forever in the environment. It was the plastics industry that offered recycling as a solution… However, recycling is far from perfect, and most plastics still end up in landfills or in the environment.”

At Neptune, we have created a plastic that doesn’t pollute the environment. Our plant-based plastic dissolves in water within an hour and biodegrades on land within 10 days. Unlike the biodegradable plastics of the competition, it leaves behind no harmful microplastics. We have the solution.