How is plastic made?
Plastic is a man-made synthetic or semi-synthetic moldable material, derived from organic polymers. The materials commonly used in the production of plastics are coal, natural gas, cellulose, salt, and crude oil. The production of plastic involves a distillation process to separate heavy crude oil into lighter fractions. These fractions are a mixture of chemical compounds made up of hydrogen and carbon, and create hydrocarbon chains. A reactive process is then used to link together elements of these chains to create the different types of plastics.
What are plastics used for?
Plastics are so widely used, for so many products, it would be near impossible to list them all! Manufactures and plastic machine shops create a wide range of plastic products, using Teflon machining and vespal machining. Common uses for plastic include plastic drink bottles, carrier bags, packaging, food containers and wrappers, furniture, fixtures and fittings, clothing such as protective rainwear, and polyester fabrics, outdoor tents, boats, bicycle parts, car parts, and flooring.
The benefits of using plastics
Plastic is cheap, easy to clean, lightweight, and has the ability to be molded into complex shapes. Plastic is thermally insulating and can cut heat or cold loss in buildings by up to 70 percent. Plastic retains is sturdy and retains its molded quality forever. It can be easily shipped, is waterproof, and safe. Its lightweight quality keeps our home electronic items lighter on weight and also lighter on our pockets!
What is negative about plastics?
Plastic is a non-biodegradable material, and even though it can be recycled, in doing so it gives harmful toxic gases which is detrimental both to our health and the environment. Poor disposal of plastic is one of our biggest problems regarding pollution. When unscrupulous and uncaring individuals throw waste in natural beauty spots, if it is organic, at least it can naturally decompose. Plastic how, can not, and sits there without picked up, spoiling nature. Recent studies also suggest that plastics used for food storage may leach carcinogenic chemicals into our system, but the jury stills looks to be out on that one.
Some interesting news about the future of plastic however, is research into degradable plastic by using vegetable oil and other organic based matter. If this is successful plastics will have less of a negative impact on our environment and health. Thankfully we are aware of the harmful effects manufacturing plastic materials can have, and with the help of funding and the bright minds of our scientists, the future of plastics and man-made materials will hopefully result in more environmentally-friendly products and materials. In the meantime, the best way to keep the negative impact of plastics on our environment is to reuse plastic products and dispose of plastic items in the correct way. When buying plastic products, look for stickers or labels which suggest they are more environmentally friendly and more degradable. Black liners for household waste, for example, have more environmentally friendly options available. Choosing the option that benefits us and our planet more, even if they cost slightly more, helps contribute to a better environment. Teach children to be environmentally aware, so they make good choices and learn not to litter.