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October 05, 2012

New Exhibit Explores the Impact of Plastics

Plastics Unwrapped
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
December 20, 2012 – May 27, 2013

Seattle – Plastics are so integral to our daily lives that we hardly notice them. From cellophane to cell phones and bottles to bags, we are wrapped up in plastics. Yet before the 1950s, we used almost none at all.

In just a few decades, plastics have transformed life on our planet, in ways we’re still coming to understand. Plastic products have made our lives safer, more convenient, and colorful; they protect and sustain us. But like every new technology, they’ve had unpredictable effects. With 500 million tons of plastics produced each year, plastic pollution is a global problem.

The Burke Museum presents Plastics Unwrapped, a new exhibit that explores the impact of plastics on people and the planet, through topics ranging from life before plastics to the effects of plastic on our health and the environment. The exhibit explores where plastic comes from, and where it goes when we throw it away.  

The indestructibility of plastics is one of their greatest assets and greatest threats. As consumers, our choices can help ensure the plastics of today don’t harm our world tomorrow. Whether swapping a plastic bottle for a reusable one, or encouraging compost options for your community, the seemingly small changes we make in our lives have a big impact.

We hope visitors will come away enlightened, inspired, and empowered. In order to stem the tide of plastic waste, we need to change our relationship with plastics. By unwrapping the impacts of plastics and making thoughtful choices every day, we can

Plastics Unwrapped is organized by the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture with support from: The Boeing Company, University of Washington, Cedar Grove, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Horizons Foundation, and Waste Management. Media Sponsor: KUOW.

High resolution images available, contact burkepr@uw.edu

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The Burke Museum is located on the University of Washington campus, at the corner of NE 45th St. and 17th Ave. NE. Hours are 10 am to 5 pm daily, and until 8 pm on first Thursdays. Admission: $10 general, $8 senior, $7.50 student/ youth. Admission is free to children four and under, Burke members, UW students, faculty, and staff. Admission is free to the public on the first Thursday of each month. Prorated parking fees are $15 and partially refundable upon exit if paid in cash. Call 206-543-5590 or visit www.burkemuseum.org. The Burke Museum is an American Association of Museums accredited museum.

To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at: 206.543.6450 (voice), 206.543.6452 (TTY), 206.685.7264 (fax), or email at dso@u.washington.edu. The University of Washington makes every effort to honor disability accommodation requests. Requests can be responded to most effectively if received as far in advance of the event as possible, preferably at least 10 days.

(206) 543-9762; FAX (206) 616-1274

Plastic bag floating in the ocean.
Image courtesy of Marco Care/Greenpeace.