Entering the old age of plastics

Floor Burger by Claes Oldenburg, 1962 (Art Gallery of Ontario): its polyurethane foam interior has been deteriorating

Mention the word plastic nowadays and you immediately envision piles of toxic trash swirling around the oceans and choking the fish and seabirds. But there is also the problem of the loss of valuable plastic: favourite dolls going gooey, rolls of old films warping and foam-rubber works of art pulverising. The old age of plastics! Liesbeth de Bakker goes on a tour of museums and research institutes to find out what can be done to protect precious plastic objets from a sudden and unexpected death. 

Producer: Liesbeth de Bakker

Broadcast: November 1997