More often than not, the answer will be: plastic.

The very properties that make plastic perfect for so much have also made it problematic.

Most of that plastic is still here, and it will be for hundreds of years.

In the future, we might be able to replace the plastic we’ve come to rely on with a plant-based material that holds all the promise of plastic, without the environmental costs.

First, Vincent Andrews, Chemicals and Agriculture Equity Research Analyst at Morgan Stanley, helps us understand how traditional plastic has become an integral part of both the economy and our daily lives.

We then sit down with David Rachelson, the Vice President of Sustainability at Rubicon Global, a startup that connects plastics producers, consumers, haulers and cities to tackle some of the inefficiencies of the current recycling model.

Finally, we travel to a laboratory in Southampton, where we meet Paul Mines, the CEO of Biome Technologies, a company that is using materials such as cornstarch, potatoes and algae to create a sustainable, compostable plastic of the future.