Worldchanging have a couple of detailed articles on what plastics and metals companies should try to use in their products.

On plastics they say:

Almost everything you buy these days is injection-molded out of plastic. That’s because plastic is amazingly useful. It’s not going to go away. (The Environmental Literacy Council has a nice little history of plastic on their site.) And for most products it’s environmentally better than using aluminum or other metals, and unfeasible to replace it with wood or other fibers. The ideal would be to find a material with the useful properties of plastic with none of the downsides. We’re not there yet, but we’re farther than you think.

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