I see a lot of DIY projects that use various plastics, even projects with a focus on sustainable processes and methods. Is the use of plastic contrary to the idea of sustainability entirely?

Are some plastics more sustainable than others? Which plastics or what qualities of plastics should I consider when trying to be more sustainable in my life and in my "backyard" projects?

  • 1
    This question is impossibly broad.
    – 410 gone
    Commented Feb 1, 2013 at 19:17
  • I believe there are at least a couple of more specific questions here that may work fine if asked singly (e.g. are some plastic more sustainable - perhaps amend to 'recyclable' - than others? and what plastic to use for a specific project).
    – wxs
    Commented Feb 1, 2013 at 20:32
  • I agree. You should break this into several smaller questions.
    – OCDtech
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


Is the use of plastic contrary to the idea of sustainability entirely? Yes.

The general answer to this question is: Avoid plastics whereever you can. Plastic takes several hundred years to rot, it's a first class environmental toxic regarding the high amounts ending up in the nature.

Although, plastic can be recycled in some ways most of it is simply burned or somehow ends up in the oceans. For further lecture on this topic, you should really watch the movie Plastic Planet --- very impressing and should answer most of your concerns. Anyone who is interested in this topic should see this, by the way.

Are some plastics more sustainable than others? Yes.

Anyway, there are some plastics more sustainable than others. They are called organic plastics or bioplastics.

Bioplastics are made from renewable sources and emit less greenhouse gases during production than plastics created from fossil sources. Some bioplastics are even designed to biodegrade within a few weeks.

In the end, it depends on what you want to create in your DIY projects. I would dismiss all kinds of plastics because there are also health concerns.

  • 1
    I'm not sure that every use of plastic is contrary to the idea of sustainability. See Ecobricks: ecobricks.org
    – tM --
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 14:26
  • Ecobricks is a nice initiative, but it's not in any way approaching the major problems caused by plastics in big scale.
    – q9f
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 14:51
  • Small scale is better than nothing. If nobody took on small scale projects like this, the big scale would be a lot bigger. I think in terms of sustainability, dismissing small projects as useless will make it easier for people to think it's difficult/impossible/unrealistic to get involved and make any sort of difference.
    – tM --
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 14:55
  • I also disagree. Plastics are incredibly durable and if this is exploited in the right context, I believe they can be integrated very well into a sustainable lifestyle.
    – Stockfisch
    Commented May 30, 2014 at 20:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.