Welcome to 1983

The future is full of uncertainty, and possibility. In 1983, the future was plastic.

An article published in the New York Times (1983) tells us what the innovators and dreamers of that time thought about this material we are now struggling to break free of.

“A plastic automotive engine has been built, giving better fuel efficiency, and on the horizon are lightweight plastic batteries, fuel cells and paper-thin arrays of solar cells that can be pulled off a roll like so much Saran Wrap.”

I am amazed by the innovation of the time. Superplastics, as the article calls them can conduct electricity, withstand 300 degrees F, and have a tensile strength of 10,000 pounds/sq inch. The article marvels at the creation of “metal-like plastics”, used today as packaging (still non-recyceleable, and a major component of marine litter). he issue of recycling is briefly addressed. It is nice to know that companies at the time were at least considering the ability to properly dispose of this magical material they were creating, even despite our current antiquated recycling system.

“Changing life patterns, as indicated by the increased use of microwave ovens, clearly require greater use of plastics in packaging. But large unknowns also lurk, such as whether consumers will want to buy plastic cartons of unrefrigerated milk that have sat on a shelf for a year.”

It just goes to show that todays friend, might be tomorrows foe. Only the future can tell.

For some perspective, this is what 1983 looked like:

Read the 1983 NY Times article here


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