In 2018 Collins dictionary declared ‘single-use’ as the word of the year. They define the term as describing items whose unchecked proliferation are blamed for damaging the environment:
Single-use refers to products – often plastic – that are ‘made to be used once only’ before disposal. Images of plastic adrift in the most distant oceans, such as straws, bottles, and bags have led to a global campaign to reduce their use.
The word has seen a four-fold increase since 2013, with news stories and images such as those seen in the BBC’s Blue Planet II steeply raising public awareness of the issue.
When they are in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing, and being disposed of without care, objects made of plastics are indeed problematic to the environment. As such, they have become synonymous with the term ‘single-use’ and with environmental devastation; as well as the depletion of fossil fuel stocks, despite plastics being responsible for only 4% of crude oil usage.
Revolution aims to redress the balance by exploring environmentally conscious design in plastics. It looks at the use of recycled and upcycled materials, alternative sources of raw material feedstocks, and some of the ways in which plastics objects can actually help to prevent environmental damage.