Plastic is a material made to last forever, yet 33 percent of all plastic - water bottles, bags and straws - are used just once and thrown away. They’re in the cell phones, televisions, computers and other electronic equipment that makes modern life possible. (2020, August 27). Unless your floor covering is real wood, it probably has a synthetic/natural fiber blend like some of the clothes you wear. » Disposed plastic materials can remain in … Plastic can take an absolute beating. Versatile plastics inspire innovations that help make life better, healthier and safer every day. We still must solve the disposal issue, which is being actively addressed through materials research, recycling policies, and enhanced public awareness. Today, more than 300 million tons of plastic are produced annually. Whatever mode of transport you pick, you'll find plastic used extensively in: Plastics are even combined with other materials as structural elements in all kinds of transport, even skateboards, rollerblades, and bicycles. The food might be wrapped in PVC cling film, your yogurt is probably in plastic tubs, cheese in plastic wrap, and water and milk in blow-molded plastic containers. But maybe the threat to human health is reason enough to appreciate why we should reduce the use of plastic. "The Many Uses of Plastics." The ability to produce a healthy child is a … ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/uses-of-plastics-820359. A major reason that plastic exists today is because people want affordable and conveniently sourced food on their table. Find information on the wide variety of plastics used in hundreds of household and consumer products. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, containers and packaging--including plastic bottles--make up the largest category of produced plastic products. Reply . The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviews materials to be used in food contact before allowing them on the market using a rigorous safety standard. We are getting wiser, and now many plastics can be chemically, mechanically, or thermally recycled. You are probably wearing plastic right now, maybe a polyester/cotton mix garment or even glasses or a watch with plastic components. Additionally, plastic can be a direct replacement sometimes for burning fossil fuels, and there are other potential benefits to incinerating plastic. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/uses-of-plastics-820359. Trains, planes, and automobiles, even ships, satellites, and space stations, use plastics extensively. Plastics don't corrode, though they can degrade in UV, a component of sunlight, and can be affected by solvents. It’s everywhere! PVC plastic, for example, is soluble in acetone. It’s tough, resilient, and excellent at absorbing shock. Plastic can — and does — save lives. There are plastics now that prevent gas from escaping pressurized soda bottles, but cans and glass are still No. Johnson, Todd. Cheap, capable of being made into any conceivable shape, strong and durable, plastic is something of a wonder material. A wave of single-use plastic bans is sweeping the country and the globe—most often on plastic bags, straws, stirrers, and takeout clamshells. Plastics are used to make bicycle helmets, child safety seats and airbags in automobiles. Plastic is used to make optic fibers that are laid under the sea to provide high speed internet connection to the users. sustainable, durable, long-lasting design and construction, From computers and cell phones to televisions and microwaves, durable, lightweight and affordable plastics have helped revolutionize the, Find information on what the number on the bottom of many. In addition to being recycled into other objects, plastic … It's clear that modern life would be very different without plastics. There is a reason plastic is slowly disappearing. They’re in the cell phones, televisions, computers and other electronic equipment that makes modern life possible. Known for its strength and robustness, plastic will withstand all sorts of uses. When it comes to canned beer, though, you will find that the inside of the can is often lined with a plastic polymer. Our food … The label was created by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and a recycling nonprofit called GreenBlue as a way to provide clear instructions to consumers about packaging recyclability. We used to build ships from wood and planes from string (hemp) and canvas (cotton/flax). Since all materials in contact with foods can have tiny amounts of substances transfer into the food, the FDA reviews scientific tests to determine how much is transferred and that any transfer does not pose a risk to human health. So what happened to the plastic bags that we used? For example, people who are unhappy with the appearance of facial sagging can have a facelift to tighten the skin. Reply. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): Polyvinyl Chloride is perhaps most well known for its use in residential and … Leak-proof and child-resistant plastic containers are useful for holding dangerous household products such as bleach, ammonia,and other caustic cleaners. Some plastics have additives that make them bacteria- or fire-resistant; or give them a rainbow of colors; or make them flexible; or fill them with bubbles to make them better insulators; or even add fibers to make high-tech composites. Packaging, for example, has a very short ‘in-use’ lifetime (typically around 6 months or less). !” “I’m writing Tesco an angry email when I get home.” You are probably wearing plastic right now, maybe a polyester /cotton mix garment or even glasses or a watch with plastic components. ThoughtCo. It helps to reduce the amount of virgin plastic that needs to be manufactured. They aren't good for the landfill, as many will persist for hundreds of years; when they're incinerated, dangerous gases can be produced. While in Europe the production of plastic has remained relatively constant over the last decade, in developing countries in particular it continues to rise. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. https://www.thoughtco.com/uses-of-plastics-820359 (accessed January 23, 2021). Plastics used in food packaging are chosen precisely because they do a good job: they are considered inert and chemically resistant to the outside environment and the foods and beverages themselves. What are you walking on? Print this Page. He also writes about the industry. Use the search box to find information on the chemicals that are essential to the products you use every day. Of course, now you would want to know why. However, challenges lie ahead. Print After reading this article, I feel much more informed about how useful plastic can be for people. Plastic debris is found absolutely everywhere, from the Arctic to Antarctica. The mass use of plastic started in the 1950s and has steadily grown ever since. Without the material, innovation is not possible in the field of technology. Plastic packaging, plastic bottles and plastic bags are something we need to use - the reasons why we use plastic are because plastic packaging helps protect food and other items, plastic is lightweight, packaging prevents contamination, packaging provides important information, and plastic packaging provides other important benefits to the use of goods today. Todd Johnson has worked on the development, commercialization, and sales sides of the composites industry since 2004. There is a plastic suitable for almost any application. The versatility of plastic materials comes from the ability to mold, laminate or shape them and to tailor them physically and chemically. Read more: Six Ways Chemistry Helps Kids Get Back to School, Read more: Answering Questions about Microbeads. These retailers send the plastic to recyclers, who use the material in products such as composite decking. Perversely, some plastics can be cured (hardened) by UV, which shows how varied their formulas are. The Ecology Center can help you use less plastic, recycle the plastic that you do use, and learn more about its hazards. 1 for beer. The material, called Parkesine, was an organic material derived from cellulose that, once heated, could be molded and retained its shape when cooled. The conveniences plastics offer, however, led to a throw-away culture that reveals the material’s dark side: today, single-use plastics account for 40 percent of the plastic produced every year. Read more: Understanding Risk and Hazard When it Comes to Chemicals. Johnson, Todd. Most of the plastic produced is used in packaging - which accounts for more than 40 per cent of non-fibre plastic, according to a study published … Plastic preserves flavour and freshness when used to store food and beverages. Recycling plastic undoubtedly helps to reduce pollution. In fact, it is a conscious effort by everyone as plastic is very harmful for our environment. There was a time when anything made of plastic was considered to be of inferior quality, but those days are past. The versatility of plastic materials comes from the ability to mold, laminate or shape them and to tailor them physically and chemically. Plastics make possible many things people don’t recognize as plastic at all – like paints, protective coatings and linings, adhesives and glues, and sealants and insulation. You must have observed that grocery shops these days do not use plastic bags. They hand out all your things in either paper bags or cloth bags. This is in contrast to building and construction, where plastic use has a mean lifetime of 35 years. Find more information about specific kinds of plastics, like silicones, fluoropolymers, polyurethanes, vinyl, polycarbonate, or polystyrene. In order to meet this … A simplistic definition is that plastic surgery is for aesthetic purposes and reconstructive surgery is to correct some type of deformity. We now have biofuel for automobiles, and the feedstock for that fuel grows on the land. The Many Uses of Plastics. Plastic became a special target because, while so many plastic products are disposable, plastic lasts forever in the environment. Plastic is very useful because it can be coloured, melted, shaped, squashed, rolled into sheets or made into fibres plastics. Dean West says: 12.20.2019 at 10:38 am Skylar – Yes indeed, the medical applications for plastics continue to expand. Modern air conditioners are molded in plastic to ensure light weight appliances that can be installed in commercial and residential premises. There are tens of thousands – or more – of different kinds of plastics and formulations. Plastic bumpers absorb shock, plastic dashboards and door panels are a little kinder on your head during a wreck, and plastic fuel tanks minimize explosion risks. It’s a Matter of Chemistry. The How2Recycle label is showing up on more products at the grocery store. How Does Recycling Help Reduce Pollution? Most modern plastics are based on organic chemicals that offer manufacturers a huge range of physical properties that is still growing. Plastic Materials Can be Converted Into Fuel. The reasons why plastic is awesome are almost too numerous to count, but here are five that really resonate for us: 1. I’m sure Daz is beginning to dread going to the supermarket with me because it always involves a lot of “this doesn’t need to be wrapped in plastic!” “Why is this non-recyclable plastic? Plastic is ubiquitous. (For some reason, guys don't like to drink beer from plastic.) Thanks for reading the Craftech Industries posts. It was the plastics industry that offered recycling as a solution. There is a huge percentage of plastic in your television, your sound system, your cell phone, and your vacuum cleaner and probably plastic foam in your furniture. A number of plastics are used to package, deliver, store or serve foods and drinks. Plastic also are hygienic and it is not poison to our bodies. Plastic bags are harmful to wildlife and marine life. Take a look in the kitchen and you might see a plastic chair or bar stool seats, plastic countertops (acrylic composites), plastic linings (PTFE) in your nonstick cooking pans, and plastic plumbing in your water system. Plastic is in lots of things we use from clothing to crisp packets, and bottles to buckets. The word ‘plastic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘plastikos’ which describes something that can be molded. While plastic bottles are convenient and hygienic, they're also responsible for extensive resource depletion and environmental damage. Think for a moment how hard it is to avoid plastic. Plastic cannot biodegrade; it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces. Have you ever seen endangered sea turtles … Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products. From medical devices that keep blood flowing, joints moving and hearts beating to impact-resistant vehicle parts and safer infant car seats, plastic saves lives every day. There is a plastic suitable for almost any application. Plastic Recycling. Due to purposefully misleading symbols on plastic packaging and numerous technical hurdles, less than 10% of plastic has ever been recycled. There are “organic” plastics, which contain carbon, and inorganic plastics, which don’t. They’re in the roofs, walls, flooring and insulation that make homes and buildings energy efficient. And plastics in packaging help keep foods safe and fresh. Practically we can say that plastic is strong material but ideal section of plastic which is useful for structural component is not designed yet. 7. Plastic Is One Of The Most Energy Dense Materials To Burn/Incinerate Plastic has a high energy output for incineration or cement kilns because of the petroleum that makes it up. Additionally, because many plastics are based ultimately on crude oil, there is a continuous rise in the cost of raw materials that chemical engineers are trying to workaround. It has proved so useful to … Read more: What Makes Polystyrene Different from Styrene? Learn more about the chemistry in the products we rely on every day, including how and why particular chemicals are used in different products, and health and safety information about these chemicals. The first man-made plastic was created by Alexander Parkes who publicly demonstrated it at the 1862 Great International Exhibition in London. Read more: Debunking the Myths: Are there really 84,000 chemicals? Johnson, Todd. Because many plastics are so durable and don't corrode, they create considerable disposal problems. "The Many Uses of Plastics." As this production increases, "sustainable" feedstock for the plastic industry will become more widely available. Plastics Can Cause Fertility and Reproductive Problems. Generally by reinforcing fibrous material into plastic … By using ThoughtCo, you accept our. That is very fitting, as today we have molded our world from so much plastic. How2Recycle. Everything You Need to Know About Plastics, The Safest Type of Water Bottle to Drink From, Examples of Petrochemicals and Petroleum Products, A Brief History of the Invention of Plastics, B.S., Business Management, University of Colorado Boulder. Single-use plastic is my biggest plastic-based frustration (it’s always fun to rate and categorise your frustrations). Some plastics occur in nature, like tree rubber. Plastic waste generation is strongly influenced by primary plastic use, but also the product lifetime. They’re in the roofs, walls, flooring and insulation that make homes and buildings energy efficient. But only 9% of plastic waste is recycled. It’s one of the main reasons cars are able to get safer and safer everyday. We had to work with the materials that nature provided, but no more—we now design our own materials. It … … Plastics are used to make bicycle helmets, child safety seats and airbags in automobiles. Foolproof. Many supermarkets now give us one-use grocery bags; leave them in a cupboard long enough and all you will have left is dust because they are engineered to degrade. It’s the button you have just pressed right now or the computer mouse in your hand. Now open your refrigerator. Some plastics are hard and shatter-resistant, others are soft and flexible. Plastic debris is found absolutely everywhere, from the ability to mold, laminate or shape and. Am Skylar – Yes indeed, the medical applications for plastics continue to.! Soda bottles, but No more—we now design our own materials says: 12.20.2019 at 10:38 Skylar! And numerous technical hurdles, less than 10 % of plastic are produced annually showing up more!, as today we have molded our world from so much plastic. getting... 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