Over the last 60 years we have modified our behavior to make use of new synthetic material produced from fossil fuels. We have incorporated it into almost every facet of our lives making us more comfortable. The production of plastic material has grown at an alarming rate and huge volumes of non-biodegradable waste now litters the surface of the planet creating a major global problem. To reverse this problem, we need to consider both obvious and novel behavior change and product development. While we are beginning to remove plastic items from the environment, we do have the responsibility to reduce the amount of new plastic material entering the waste stream. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to explore all options relating to the way we design, produce and consume products and determine what acceptable waste is. This article collection is concerned with addressing the problem by exploring a variety of topics as diverse as the history of plastic material use, behavior change, and the development of new, environmentally friendly products and their impact on the environment. The following essay outlines a few ideas that do require further scientific exploration so we can begin the process of weaning society off its current dependence on plastic products.