A Planet Full of Plastic


Around half of the 330 million tonnes of plastic made every year is used once and thrown away. We are creating so much plastic that it is caught up within the food system, and has developed ‘five enormous garbage patches full of plastic.’

Picture book maker, Neal Layton, introduces us to his subject by assuming that we know little. In fact, even if we think we do know a lot, his reminders and information are helpful. For example, the fact that Mr Baekland, inventor of plastic, never expected his product to become universal so that we create too much and use too little. The fact that its longevity would prove such a threat to the life of our planet was never contemplated either.

How do we rid ourselves of it safely? It can’t be recycled into perpetuity? Thereafter, how do we gather the great wealth of plastic drowning the oceans and suffocating our marine life, entering our food chain? The plastic that ends up in our water systems ultimately breaks down into smaller and smaller microscopic parts so that scientists predict there will be more plastic in our oceans than water!

There is hope in this title. Yet, there is also a strong sense of urgent responsibility, a call to acknowledgement and action. A Planet Full of Plastic is a thoroughly credible, beautifully executed and necessary title that we urge homes and schools to read and act upon.

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A Planet Full of Plastic

And How You Can Help

Neal Layton

(Wren & Rook)

A Planet Full of Plastic is difficult to contemplate. Yet did you know that the North Pacific Garbage Patch  ‘is currently THREE TIMES the size of France’? Furthermore scientists that soon there will ‘be more plastics than fish in the sea’?
Through introducing this critical subject in a friendly, positive way, Neal Layton holds his readers’ attention. We learn how Mr Baekland’s discovery 150 years ago has proved so universal. However, its usage was never intended to be so dominating. We see plastic ‘where it’s NOT meant to be’ in every area of our lives. It’s not only because of its ease of use and application, but also because plastic does not biodegrade. We see comparisons of biodegrading, from twigs, which take over a year, to a banana peel, which takes six months. We learn what happens when items biodegrade before being shown all the places where plastic is left to linger- forever.
Thereafter, we learn how we might reduce our daily plastic usage, and how efforts are being made to create recyclable plastic items. However these have a limited lifespan, so we are directed to considering how we might clear up our mess.
A Planet Full of Plastic is a picture book of impact and appeal. Award winning picture book maker Neal Layton, best known as illustrator for Emily Brown and Father Christmas, amongst other titles, has a deft touch. His useful, applicable information, imparts a sense of urgency, action and responsibility.


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