Here’s some information about plastics from the Reactual Institute that is troubling (what isn’t these days).
Plastics are not very meta-efficient. (For something to be considered meta-efficient it must be: Energy and Resource Efficient, Affordable, Reliable, Non-Polluting and Non-Toxic, and Portable.)
They are toxic to all forms of life, they don’t biodegrade, and they are difficult to recycle. Bioplastics have none of these issues. Also there are other materials that can substitute for plastic such as ceramics or rubber.
In terms of toxicity and environmental damage, plastics can be arranged in a pyramid, starting from the worst at the top:
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other halogenated plastics
Polyurethane (PU), Polystyrene (PS), Acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS), Polycarbonate (PC)
Polyolefins (PE, PP, etc.)
Biobased Polymers (Bioplastics)
PVC plastic (vinyl) is the worst plastic for our health and for the environment because it is produced using chlorine, and it releases dioxins throughout its lifetime. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals ever produced. The EPA suggests that there is no safe level of dioxin exposure.
Also, because PVC is a hard and unusable material, chemicals must be added during manufacture — such as phthalates (pronounced “thay-lates”). Unfortunately these chemicals leak out of the plastic easily. When children suck or chew PVC toys, they can end up ingesting these chemicals.