Life After Plastic
Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of joining a panel of speakers at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC to discuss “Life After Plastic.” The public event was part of NBM’s environmental awareness series entitled “For the Greener Good: Conversations That Will Change the World,” moderated by Lance Hosey, President and CEO of GreenBlue, and included Jay Bolus, VP of Technical Operation at McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, and Robert Peoples, Director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute.
For much of the event, the discussion centered on the environmental pros and cons of synthetic and bio-based plastics. However, the audience also prompted several questions about the future implications of projected oil shortages on the built environment. One point I raised is the fine line between durability and persistence: architects generally want building materials to endure, yet the public dislikes materials (such as plastics) that persist in the environment after their “first lives” are over. Therefore, the process of temporal programming and life cycle assessment must continue to develop as critical sustainable design methods for architects.
Details of the Life After Plastic conversation may be found on the National Building Museum’s website here.