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A visit to a home center in Tokyo, where I live, is to fully immerse in the spectrum of plastics: carbon-fiber this, Teflon that, shelves full of plastic artificial turf, plastic faux-wood floors, shiny-plastic rice cookers and coffee makers, plastic plants in plastic pots; shampoo, soap, skin lotions and make-up packaged in every color of the plastic rainbow. Even 60% of our clothes are made from synthetic fibers (plastic): aisle upon aisle of cheap, polyester, Lycra and acrylic clothing, spanning all age groups from cradle to grave, hanging on racks in neat rows. Finally, consumers wait patiently in line, pushing plastic shopping carts, preparing to pile their purchases onto a plastic conveyor belt, to be scanned by a clerk into a plastic-encased cash register, paid for with a plastic credit card, before stuffing it all into single-use plastic bags to be carried home.

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