Plastic Waste | 21st Century Museum

Plastic Waste

Collection available from the 3rd of September - the 26th of November 2139

Plastic waste and pollution became a central problem in the 21st century. Before the development of recent technologies and materials, all kinds of plastics were threatening our environment. Take a look and learn about them below.


Plastic Bags

They were often used once then thrown away, hurting animals who ate it or were trapped by it. Luckily, scientists found a way to decompose them into water, eliminating most of these old harmful plastics.

Plastic Containers

These were used for storing food and takeaways before the invention of cheaper thermal insulation materials, and the implementation of container reuse centres we have now.

Plastic Cutlery

Along with plastic containers came plastic cutlery; knives, forks, spoons, sporks, chopsticks… They polluted the environment and ocean and threatens animals for decades, before finally being replaced completely by other materials.

Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles were another big risk to the environment and ocean. Creative people found ways to reuse them, such as turning them into pots for planting. Scientists also found a way to turn plastic bottles into threads to produce clothes with, intelligently recycling plastic bottles.

Plastic Straws

Little plastic tubes that take 200 years to decompose, which were often consumed by marine animals, damaging their health. Luckily, they have been replaced with metal, rubber and other materials now.

Cling Film

A slightly sticky plastic film that was used to wrap food to keep them fresh. Useful invention at the time, but environmental concerns meant that reusable containers and beeswax wraps made it obsolete.

Plastic Wrappers

This is one of the many biscuit wrappers used in the last century. As humans in the 21st century bought junk food like these, they not only put their health at risk but also their environment. Fortunately, scientists were also able to decompose them into water.

Plastic Toothbrushes

These were used back when humans had to manually brush their teeth. They take around 500 years to decompose, so there are still many of them left on this planet, but scientists are looking at new solutions to eliminate them.

To view the Plastic Waste collection in person, visit the 21st Century Museum.
This collection will be available from the 3rd of September - the 26th of November 2139.
For more information on visiting, go to our Visiting page.