Plastics and Microplastics
A Reference Handbook
by David E. Newton
July 2021, 311pp, 6x9
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7539-7
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7540-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

More than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic compose the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located halfway between Hawaii and California and weighing approximately 80,000 tons.

Plastic plays a vital role in today's world but has become increasingly problematic. Plastics and Microplastics: A Reference Handbook discusses the history and evolution of plastic and its many uses, both in the United States and around the world.

Beginning with a history of plastic—from the first scientific discovery of the material to its diversity of forms and uses in the present day—Plastics and Microplastics: A Reference Handbook discusses the history and evolution of plastic and its many uses, both in the United States and around the world. Importantly, it delves into the problems and controversies concerning plastic and microplastics, such as the pollution of oceans, rivers, and streams; its exceptionally long shelf life; its contribution to air pollution; and ingestion of microplastics by marine life.

One of the most valuable aspects of the book is its survey of the history of plastics and microplastics conducted in a manner that helps readers to identify key issues to address. Moreover, it discusses both implemented and proposed solutions. A perspectives chapter includes a broad range of voices, allowing crucial, diverse perspectives to round out the author's expertise.


  • Provides readers with the basic background they need about plastics and microplastics in order to understand current problems
  • Includes additional readings, a comprehensive chronology, a glossary, and other features to aid students' understanding of current issues and guide them in designing and conducting their own research
  • Offers ideas for additional research from a list of important individuals and organizations
  • Rounds out the author's expertise in perspectives essays that show readers a diversity of viewpoints
David E. Newton holds a BA in chemistry, an MA in education from the University of Michigan, and an EdD in science education from Harvard University. He is author of more than 400 textbooks, encyclopedias, and other educational materials. He taught mathematics, chemistry, and physical science in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for 13 years; was professor of chemistry and physics at Salem State College, in Massachusetts, for 15 years; and was adjunct professor in the College of Professional Studies at the University of San Francisco for 10 years.


"An excellent starting place for research on plastic and its environmental impact. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers."—Choice, February 1, 2022

Contemporary World Issues

This award-winning series offers comprehensive, one-volume reference handbooks on important topics related to health, education, the environment, and social and ethical issues.

24-hour cable news. Millions of internet sites. Information overload. How can we sort through the information? Assess the analyses? Trust the sources?

A world of questions demands a library of answers. Contemporary World Issues covers the controversial topics that students, readers, and citizens want to read about, write about, and know more about.


Subject coverage spans six main categories:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Environment
  • Gender and Ethnicity
  • Politics, Law, and Government
  • Science, Technology, and Medicine
  • Society
Each volume offers a rich array of resources:
  • A background and history essay that provides essential context and grounding for further study
  • A balanced summary of ongoing controversies and proposed solutions that show numerous paths for further research on pressing, contemporary questions
  • A forum of authoritative perspective essays by experts, offering a broad spectrum of arguments on the issues
  • Carefully selected annotated documents, tables, and graphs that support statistical literacy and investigation of primary sources
  • A chronology of events, legislation, and movements that place events in sequence and draw connections between them
  • Annotated lists of print, web, and multimedia resources that power the next steps for in-depth research
  • Profiles of key players and organizations
  • A glossary of key terms
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