If you want to break plastic…

It’s easier to melt the middle of it with a lighter than to cut it with scissors. This is the result of the hyperelasticity of polymers. They stretch significantly making them hard to cut. Melting it doesn’t have that issue, though you also won’t get a clean cut.

An important part of the work is having the right tool for the right situation, making sure that the tool needed is in the hands of the people who need it. If you took my story about plastic above and you had a 1000′ of plastic in 100′ lengths that needed to be broken down into 1′ strips, giving someone a lighter will be less efficient than finding other means that are more efficient due to the how many times it needs to be repeated. If one 2′ strip needed to be split into 1′ strips, the method efficiency is mostly a non-issue. After scaling up, the efficiency matters.

Moving from a scale where efficiency doesn’t matter much to a scale where it does is a common experience for businesses. Unfortunately, often times in their success, they get caught up in doing more of their current methodology rather than thinking those old methods don’t work at the new scale.