The Dawn of the Plastic Era.

Plastic are in the news every day just now. Although the problem isn’t new there is now an increased awareness of the damage we are doing to the planet by continuing to use non biodegradable plastics.

ocean-plastics      eyevine6.02587930cmyk.jpg

This is not going to be a historical or scientific post about the invention and use of plastics. Those facts are readily available on the Internet – and make fascinating reading! This post is about how I remember plastics arriving in our lives in the 50s and quickly reaching every aspect of our lives over the next few decades.

I do remember some of our toys being plastic. I also remember toys made of tin which sounds really odd now! On one occasion when I was quite young I was bought a small doll as a present. I remember showing my mum the letters and numbers embossed in the plastic somewhere on the body of the doll. I thought the doll’s name was Pat which was also my mum’s name. What I had seen was the patenting information which began with Pat but actually said ‘Pat. pending, Pat. applied for or Pat. number’ which seemed to be on a lot of items then.

Picnic ware from my early childhood was enamelled metal. Remember the white mugs and plates with a blue edge? Later on we had plastic beakers for garden and picnic use.


My baby doll, which I received for Christmas when I was about eight, was made of pottery. She wasn’t a shelf doll, made to collect and display. She was for playing with and I had years of fun with her. I must have been quite a careful child as I still have her. Three years later my sister was given a baby doll and she was made of a soft pink plastic.

$_35      PalitoyTinyTears1980

Apart from the creeping in of plastic toys and housewares, there are other everyday differences which come to mind. Bread was wrapped in tissue at the baker’s, fish and meat wrapped in greaseproof paper and then an outer layer of brown paper or newspaper. Fruit and veg was weighed and put into brown paper bags. Sweets were weighed out from large jars into white paper bags. Packaged food came in tins, packets or boxes. All this shopping was put into shopping bags brought from home or brown paper ones provided by the shop. Larger quantities would be carried or delivered in a cardboard box.

Upper-Market-Butcher-Reg-Evans-1950s  1993fb6fd6842ac43a99bb8a7f5c821a

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At home, leftovers were covered with an upturned plate or bowl to keep the, fresh. There was no such thing as cling film. Milk bottles and pop bottles were all glass and all returnable. No food was sold in plastic pots, bags or containers of any sort.

130417-lamb-on-shelves-Lambcheck1-c-no-credit      aldi_pasta_salad

soft-drinks-beverages-supermarket-21460402       vegetable     skynews-packaging-vegetables_4202753       download



8 thoughts on “The Dawn of the Plastic Era.

  1. Unbelievably, Friends of the Earth were campaigning against the use of plastic carrier bags here in the UK when I was a student which was 1969 – 72. Why has it taken so long for the message to hit home? Thanks for commenting. I have been out of the loop for a few weeks so it’s nice to know I still have some readers! Time now to catch up with all the blogs I follow.


  2. I love your baby doll, it reminds me of some hairless baby dolls I had as a child… Although I kept getting new ones… Not as careful as you *wink 😁. When I watch documentaries about how plastics can harm our environment and the fact that they become tiny particles that never dissolve, it is worrisome to me too. And we have all come to depend on plastics so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Impossible to get rid of all plastics now, unfortunately. I’ve been trying to decide if there’s some way to use something other than plastic bags in the freezer (for instance, for air-tight wrapping of bread) but so far can’t think of anything. And I want to get a water filter but most are plastic which kind of defeats the point…
    I had the same doll as the one bottom left but it got a bad bout of ‘doll disease’ which is deterioration of the chemicals used in that kind of plastic, makes it sort of shrink and smell bad (acidic), so had to chuck her.

    Liked by 1 person

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