Challenge Accepted. As the con has stated, paper is the basis of the past. Plastic however will be the basis of the future. Look around you. Technology nowadays is largely based on plastic. Even the computer that you used to get onto this debate website is largely made of plastic. Books are made made of paper, yes, but many pieces of literature can be found online. E-Books, online references, dictionaries- EVERYTHING can be found as a digital copy. Paper will one day become outdated, a thing of the past; a relic that people in the future will google on their plastic computers and laugh about.
The problem with Plastic is that it isn't eco-friendly. While we may one day be a largely plastic society, (we're headed there now: ie. Barbie, Michael Jackson) paper will continue to be used as it can be recycled. Poland Spring Water Bottles are a great way to carry water to and from destinations, however, they are "forever in a landfill," as pointed out by various public service announcements. This is not good for our environment. Paper can be easily recycled and for all those litterbugs out there, it is also bio-degradable. Win-Win. BaM!
Paper is not without its ecological problems; ask any 5th grader where paper comes from and they would shout out "TREES!!!". While 5th graders are generally not a reliable source of information, studies show that paper does indeed come from trees and other plant matter. Now there is the dilemma, in order to manufacture your insidious paper, forests need tobe culled for their inhabitants (by this I mean trees, not forest people). Trees are necesary for the transformation of carbon dioxide into oxygen. Studies have shown that oxygen is good for you, as 99% of people admitted to breathing oxygen on a regular basis, the other 1% died shortly after the study was taken due to lack of oxygen. The point is, the manufacure of paper destroys the trees that produce vital oxygen. Plastic can be recycled and it does not consume trees to make. BAZINGA
Four of the greatest tragedies in history involve paper and the burning of it. I still am annoyed when I consider the knowledge and information that was lost when the library in Alexandria Egypt burned down. Then let us recall the ancient mayans, who have supposedly predicted the end of the world as Dec. 21, 2012, however, this information was ascertained by 4 scraps of paper that were remaining after the Spanish burned the rest of their paper as the work of heathens. Next is of course the massive book burning by the nazis and cross burning by the KKK. Finally there was the great fire of 2004 which came from a magnifying glass I was holding in my 8th grade Earth Science class which burned one of my lab reports, leaving me one lab short of the 21 required by the NY Regents. Had to make it up and it took about 3 afternoons.
As aforementioned now thrice, Paper is invaluable.
Your instances of great tragedies involving paper,up to and including the final and most tragic incident (the lab report), serve only to strengthen the value of plastic. Had these volumes of data been stored on plastic slabs rather than paper in any form, they might very well still be in pristine condition. As you mentioned earlier, plastic is not biodegradable like paper is. Certain plastics can be manufactured that are fire-proof, bomb-proof, egyptian/spaniard/nazi/klansman-proof, and most certainly magnifying-glass-proof. Certain types of plastic are very hard to destroy and would have proved a better storage solution for information whether it be indestructible plastic slabs, virtual data on plastic drives or billions of nano sized inscriptions of the text (certainly impossible to destroy all of them) on plastic flakes. Paper is much too vulnerable to be trusted. I am willing to bet that every book in the Library of Congress has a digital copy- just in case.