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The History of Plastic Packaging

Though it may seem that plastic has been around forever because we are so used to seeing it, it is actually a relatively new invention. In fact, the first form of plastic was made in 1862 in London. The invention was made by Alexander Parkes and was actually made from a natural material named cellulose. From there, people started working to try and find out what else could be made from this material. This led to the invention of cellophane by Dr. Jacques Brandenberger, who originally wanted to use the material as an attachment to make fabric stain-resistant. In the 1930s, Richard Drew took cellophane further by attaching an adhesive to it, inventing cellophane tape. Tape started becoming a convenient way for grocery stores to package their items. Also in the 30s, another type of plastic, the one used to make saran wrap, was discovered. Its ability to attach itself to almost anything made it ideal for protecting military equipment and food. Right after the war, in 1946, a man named Earl Silas started a company called Tupperware. He sold his food containers through housewives who wanted a way to make an income. During the same time, plastic bottles started being used after Dr. Jules Montenier used them as packaging for the deodorant he developed. Throughout the 50s, plastic bags were invented and began being used in both professional and home settings. Both the garbage bag and the plastic sandwich bags became extremely popular during this time. As time went on, the usage of plastic became more popular in all kinds of fields, leading to inventions such as microwavable TV dinners, bubble wrap, plastic food packaging, etc. Since then, plastic has become extremely widely used, with it being present in almost every industry. It has also caused incredible problems for the environment as it does not break down, leading to widespread plastic pollution.