History Of Plastics Essay

1426 words - 6 pages

Background Information
Plastic plays an important role in our lives due to its ability to be functional in a number of different ways from plastic water bottles do the rubber on car tires. It seems as if everything is made of plastic in this day and age, but what happens once the consumers are done with the product? Statistics Canada showed in that 2012 Canadians produced, on average, 13.4 million tonnes of waste, 73% of which were sent for disposal. Of the 27% of waste that was recycled, a mere 17% of plastics was recycled properly, while the rest was sent to landfills. (Babooram & Wang, 2013). Improper disposal is a problem because plastic, once placed in a landfill it is unable fully break down (Platt, 2001). The logical solution for the plastics in landfills unable to degrade is to use biodegradable plastics. However, are biodegradable plastics the answer to society’s addiction to plastic? Arguments have been made on whether the pros of biodegradable plastics outweigh the cons and whether their usage will truly make a difference in our world.
Survey Results
The results from the survey; Biodegradable plastics, showed that most people are not knowledgeable about biodegradable plastics but did their best to be environmentally conscious. The survey showed those who knew the definition to biodegradable were more environmentally conscious and had more knowledge on this subject. A trend in the survey was the older the age group the more knowledgeable they were about biodegradable plastics. A general trend in the survey showed that many were surprised to learn that biodegradable plastics placed in landfills will not degrade. They also did not know that biodegradable plastics cannot be recycled with regular plastics and will be sorted out to be sent to the landfills. The results of the survey show that many try their best to be environmentally conscious but did not always realise that their actions were not reflecting their intentions and could potentially be doing more harm than good.
Chemistry Connections
Polymers are molecules consisting of many smaller repeating monomer units. Plastic such as plastic water bottles are made from a simple addition polymer, polyethene (van Kessel et al., 2003). There are many types of addition polymers such as polyethene terephthalate or PET and polypropene. (van Kessel et al., 2003). Different types of plastics can be formed from different polymers with various reactants, for example polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used for insulating electrical wires and coating on fabrics (van Kessel et al., 2003). Regular plastics are chemically unreactive, thus their extensive use in everyday life, but what happens once they reach the landfill? Their unreactive properties come from carbon-carbon double bonds that are hard to break (van Kessel et al., 2003). Due to their unreactivity regular plastics cannot break down into simpler parts, this means plastic can sit in a landfill and never fully degrade ("Biodegradable plastics:...

Find Another Essay On History of Plastics

Plastics: A Comparison of The Film The Graduate Vs. The Novel

2428 words - 10 pages film brought the novel to life with authentic characters with sympathy and edge, the novel The Graduate was the foundation of one the most successful and iconic films in history. Charles Webb the author of The Graduate was fresh out of college when he wrote the novel in 1963. Only twenty-four years old he produced one of the most influential stories ever told, about the seduction of an older woman towards a young man. The story was based on one

Risk of Plastics Essay

2230 words - 9 pages There has been a scientific and civil debate about whether plastics have any risk in the development and welfare of human beings. With the wide-spread use of plastics in our homes, consumer electronics, and importantly our foods, it is justified to understand more about the potential effects these synthetic materials have on the body. As robust and sturdy as they may seem, the chances of some plastics, or their derivative by-products, entering

Uses of Recycled Plastics

781 words - 4 pages Uses of Recycled Plastics In the United States of America today about 33.6 million tons of plastic waste is created each year. Some of this waste is recycled; 7.7 percent of these 33.6 million tons is combusted for energy, making electricity, and only 6.5 percent is recycled and reused. The United Nations Environmental Program reports that plastic consumption has majorly skyrocketed from 5.5 million tons in the 1950’s to 110 million tons only

An introduction to plastics

880 words - 4 pages tell you this. Well, there are a few nuances and details of what makes a plastic a plastic that it might be useful to go over. For example, why do we call a material a plastic and not a rubber, or elastomer? The answer is in the bouncing. You can stretch an elastomer, and it bounces back. Plastics tend to either deform permanently, or just plain break, when you stretch them too hard.But that's not bad. You see, although plastics don't behave as well

Oil and plastics

1935 words - 8 pages hydrocarbon molecules with very similar numbers of carbon atoms. (Ke C 10,11) Refineries often use cracking to produce chemicals from oil which can be useful precursors. Explain why we have to “Crack” long-chain hydrocarbons instead of using the products of fractional distillation directly when we manufacture plastics By cracking it will let us turn long chain molecules into shorter and more usable ones. It always makes short-chain composites

The Plastics Industry

969 words - 4 pages addition or condensation reactions. After this process the synthetic resin is heated or liquefied so that it can then be moulded. From this treatment the plastics are then moulded into the useful everyday products that can be found everywhere in everything. Plastics can have many properties from being very hard, tough and brittle to being very soft, delicate and flexible.Types of plastics:What makes them different?Plastics can vary widely. The

Thermal Characteristics of Different Plastics

2929 words - 12 pages Thermal Characteristics of Different Plastics Thermal decomposition of different plastic through pyrolysis can be achieved at different temperature range. Through TGA analysis of various plastics, including PP, PS, LDPE and HDPE, carried by Lee and Shin [10], it was found that PS has the lowest degradation temperature compared to PP and PE thus will decompose more easily into liquid products. Degradation of PS occurs almost in the range of 350

Should All Plastics be Biodegradable?

983 words - 4 pages Should All Plastics be made to be Biodegradable? Background Information Plastic plays a huge role in our lives due to its ability to be functional in all aspects of everyday life. Statistics Canada showed Canadians in average produced 13.4 million tonnes of waste and 73% was sent for disposal. Of the 27% that was recycled 17% of that was plastic, while the rest ended up in landfills. The logical solution for the plastics in landfills unable to

Are plastics a possible cause of breast cancer, lower sperm counts, and birth defects?

712 words - 3 pages The effects of plastic on health and the environment has received media attention lately. In this paper I will discuss the threats that plastic pose to our health especially its involvement in breast cancer, reducing sperm count and still births., causing me to wonder about the safety and environmental impact of all types of plastics. I consulted a number of web-sources fro this paper, among which google proved to be the best search engine and

Plastic Production

2391 words - 10 pages 1.0 Research Background The term of plastic has attracted more attention in the literature for the past 100 years since the introduction of the first industrial plastic at the latter part of the 19th century. John Wesley Hyatt, an American, finally came upon the solution in year 1869 with celluloid which makes its debut in plastic industry (McCord, 1964). Ever since after, there have been several milestones in the history of material science as

The History and Uses of Casein

1044 words - 5 pages also been very important throughout recent American and English history. Though there are many ways casein has been used in history, the most popular ways that this protein has been manipulated through history is in plastics, food, and nutritional supplements. Casein is found in all mammalian milk, being 80% of the proteins found in cow’s milk and anywhere from 25-40% of the proteins found in human’s milk. This valuable protein is separated from

Similar Essays

Plastics Essay

2304 words - 9 pages cotton, cellulose in plants and/or skin, hoofs and muscle (Ruoff, 1972). The name polymers was originally came from the two Greek words, “poly” which means many and “meros” which means parts. The difference between polymers and prepolymers is that a prepolymer has lower moral masses than a polymer does. Prepolymers can be exactly the same as polymers on processing (Elias, 1993).   2. The History of Plastics In terms of history, plastics have

Plastics Essay

787 words - 3 pages Plastics Plastics are often frowned upon. This is because people often think of them as cheap and not aesthetically pleasing. However they come in many different forms and often look very nice. Obviously there are types that do give the product a bad name. Mainly the cheap toys that are produced in the far east. This is not right and plastics should be seen as a real alternative and be able offer a huge amount of uses

Pesticides And Plastics—Plenary Neglect Essay

2250 words - 9 pages The situation in the United States regarding pesticides and plastics is frightening. Neither product is sufficiently tested, studied, nor regulated. The general public is severely under-informed about the situation, most not realizing their risks at all or the severity and prevalence of their contact with these substances. Federal and state law and regulation, as well as the institutions designed to implement and enforce environmental regulation

The Plastics Essay

809 words - 4 pages deceiving Regina George. “Mean Girls” begins as Cady Heron moves back to the United States from Africa where her parents were animal experts. She has an awkward first week of school where she begins to crush on a boy named Aaron Samuels, meets Janice and Damian who show her around campus because no one really wanted to get to know her on a personal level. Janice and Ian begin to spill the dirty secrets of the school including “The Plastics