At one time, plastics were claimed to be the material that would not only boost West Germany's economy but also its consumer democracy. However, in the 1970s plastics were redefined as an environmental and consumer hazard. Based on protest letters and other sources, this article explores why plastic came to be redefined and traces how it became an issue of public concern. Now, this iconic material had become symbolic once more, but for negative reasons. I argue that the issue of plastics gained considerable momentum due to their crucial role in creating modern mass consumption. I further argue that the shifting significance of plastics highlights a substantial change in West Germany's political culture. While the early social market economists based citizens’ social belonging around access to economic security and affluence rather than overtly political notions of participation, people started insisting on the political aspects of their group identity as consumers; they defined both consumer information and protection as rights of citizenship.