Plastic products have a horrible reputation. There are numerous anti-plastic campaigns: "I'm Not a Plastic Bag" cloth bag; municipal plastic bag bans and taxes; and Pur Water Filter's "Lifetime in a Landfill" television commercials. Also, the existence of the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch," of which 80% is plastic, received extensive news coverage in 2007 and 2008. So, is there good plastic? Well, two products, made from plastic, are being marketed as environmental goods, specifically water conservation aids.
The first is the Hughie Sink, a removable sink, purported to "capture up to 80% of all grey water wasted." No manufacturing information is available at the Hughie Web site but it looks like a plastic product. I read about the sink at Re-Nest (post) and Wasted Food (post). The Hughie sink is being marketed as an aid to Australians dealing with water restrictions from "the worst drought in living memory."
The second product, also of Australian origin (but now manufactured in the U.S.), is the Rainwater HOG. Each HOG module is 40 pounds empty (440 pounds full), has a 50-gallon capacity, is made from 100% recycled, "UV stabilized food grade plastic." The retail cost per hog ranges from $320 to $450. If you live in San Francisco, there is a cheaper alternative. You can purchase a discounted and "re-purposed" rain barrel for $69.99 from Cole Hardware stores. The discount is sponsored by the SF Public Utilities Commission Rainwater Harvesting Program.