A letter to Plastic

Qinglin Wang

Dear Plastic,

You save lives.

You bring convenience.

You endow us

with more freedom to create,

with more desires to fulfill.

Thank you for all that.


You are so versatile,

sometimes tough like a stone,

sometimes pliant like a paper,

but not as weighted or fragile.

You could be shaped into anything,

anything we can ever imagine.

Extracted, refined, distilled, compressed,

polymerized, melted, extruded, granulated,

you are born from fossil fuels.

Melted, molded, polished,

you are then given a new life.


Your existence is already a miracle.

Yesterday, you were ditched as a water bottle on the street.

Today, you show up as a gorgeous dress in a fashion show.

You know, you are too good to be true.

You dominate our view.

You run all over the world.

Slowly, quietly, invisibly,

you make your way into our food.

Some people call you evil.

But who is really responsible?


Created by humans, you are here to help.

Mistreated by humans, you bring us harm,

hurting every creature living under the sky,

ruining the blueprint your inventors had in mind.

Soil, rivers, and oceans shine no more,

yet humans create even more and more.


But none of this is your fault,

for people shouldn’t have taken you for granted,

drowning themselves in the plastic fantasy,

for people shouldn’t have used you unrestrictedly,

and throwing you away like you are nothing.


I want to apologize to you, to Earth,

and to every creature suffering from you,

for our toxic relationship with you,

for our spoiled throwaway lifestyle,

for every piece of plastic we contribute to the landfill,

for millions of microplastics we add to the water

whenever we wash our clothes.


You are lucky though.

You have gone through a lot in your life,

and you’ll outlive every one of us.

Because of your persistence,

because of your ubiquity,

you will leave your trace in our DNA,

and you will be the last one standing

on this warming planet.

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Qinglin Wang is a designer who likes to explore playful interaction in her works and who cares about sustainability.