“I have one word for you Ben—PLASTICS—There’s a great future in plastics” — The Graduate, 1967
In an oft quoted line from Mike Nichols’ 1967 coming of age film The Graduate, Ben Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman) is directed by a well-meaning adult towards a bright future in plastics. While the first Bakelite appeared in the early 1900’s, plastic was considered a modern material and an essential product of the utopian future envisioned in post-World War II America. In contemporary times, growing concerns about waste and the environment have degraded plastic’s reputation. It is no longer the material of the future, but rather that which is fake, cheap, disposable, and now toxic.