“In the gradual development of civilisation, man has passed through a series of culture stages.
First came the old stone age, then the new stone age with tools and weapons of polished stone. The bronze age followed, when metals were first extracted from the rocks. Finally, iron became paramount among the metals, and the iron age has lasted until the present day. Now we are on the threshold of an age of plastics and atomic power.
Modern textile fibres belong to the group of materials known as plastics, for they all pass through a stage in which they can be moulded into any shape […] Already, at every stage of our lives, in the home, in the workshop, and in play, plastics play their part. No doubt in the future plastics will take an even more prominent place. Let us picture the man of tomorrow. In the morning he will arise from a bed covered with sheets and blankets of synthetic plastics. He will don a suit of plastic clothing made creaseless by treatment with another plastic. The brushes he uses for brushing his hair and cleaning his teeth will have bristles and handles of plastics. He will eat his breakfast off a plastic plate and drink his tea from a plastic cup. The chair on which he reclines to read his paper will have plastic fabric upholstery and be stuffed with a springy plastic fibre or with sponge rubber. Almost every item of household equipment will have some part of plastic. The walls of the house will be of plastic board or of waterproof plywood bonded with plastic resins and painted with plastic paints […]
In the country, farming will take its rightful place as the basic industry on which we all depend. By the application of scientific discoveries, the farmer will produce abundant crops, reducing loss from diseases and pests to vanishing point. A full and balanced diet will be assured to all and “freedom from want” will be achieved…the need for national parks and nature reserves is urgent, as the mantle of industry spreads across the countryside, with its ever-quickening pace, gives promise of a long and prosperous future for mankind…”
The plastic thrown away since the 1950s will eventually form a layer sedimentary rock detectable by future generations.