“There’s a great future in plastics.” So goes the advice doled out to Dustin Hoffman’s young impressionable Benjamin Braddock character in the 1967 movie The Graduate. Alas, today the oceans are choking on plastic waste. Yet the plastics industry just keeps churning out more and more plastic. TED curator Chris Anderson speaks with Australian businessman Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest about his innovative plan to solve the crisis and in the process create jobs and environmental peace of mind. Forrest has the bold vision to foresee a great future in plastics.


Plastic is a useful but deadly material.

Many of the rivers of Southeast Asia, where much of the Western world sends its recyclable plastic for processing, are choking with plastic waste. The waste then drifts to the oceans where it kills millions, maybe trillions, of fish and marine animals each year. Plastic is a relatively stable material, but once exposed to the elements, it begins to degenerate into smaller and smaller particles, until it becomes mere nanoparticles with a negative charge. Human skin can absorb microscopic plastic particles, which are capable of piercing the blood-brain barrier. Their negative charge can wreak havoc within the brain, attracting dangerous pathogens and heavy metals. Scientists predict that by 2025, the world’s oceans may contain...

About the Speakers

Andrew Forrest is a businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist with a PhD in marine ecology. Chris Anderson is the chief curator at TED.

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