Plastics are derived from natural materials such as cellulose, coal, natural gas, crude oil and salt through the polymerization process. The reason for plastic production, it can be easily molded into solid objects and it is durable, strong yet light.
- In 1862, Alexander Parkes introduced “Parkensine” which the world’s first ever-man-made plastic.
- In 1907, Dr. Leo Bakeland created synthetic plastic called “Bakelite”, world’s first synthetic plastic.
- In 1920, Hermann Staudinger introduced polymer, the one plays a vital role in our everyday life.
- In 1933-1945, (Polyethylene, Polystyrene, Nylon, Expanded Polystrene was created.
- In 1950s, polyester was introduced
- In later 1960s, plastics getting popular.
Resin codes:The society of the plastic industry introduced the Resin Codes to indicates the types of plastics that are made for. And also to know the knowledge about the plastic Recycle process.
There are 7 types of plastics:
1. Polyethylene Terephthalate [ PETE ]:
Uses: commonly found in beverage bottles, water bottles, mouthwash, shampoo bottles
Recycled to produced: carpet, winter, coats, life jackets.
2. High-Density Polyethylene [HDPE]:
Uses: milk jugs, cleaning product containers, body wash bottles and also children’s toys.
Recycled to produced: pens, fencing,.
3. Poly Vinyl Chloride [PVC]:
Uses: Plumbing Pipes, tiles, windows, medical equipments.
Recycled to produced: plastic crates, lumber.
4. Low-Density Polyethylene [LDPE]:
Uses: squeezable bottles, grocery bags, frozen food bags.
Recycled to produced: garbage cans, lumber.
5. Polypropene [PP]:
Uses: Tupperware, care parts, disposal diapers.
Recycle to produced: pallets, ice scrapers, battery cables.
6. Polystyrene [ PS ]:
Uses: beverage cups, packing material, egg carton.
Recycle to produced: insulation, license plate framing.
Uses: sunglasses, baby bottles, compact disc (CD).
Recycle process :It means making new products from the waste materials. Reduce the amount of wastes sent to landfills and inceration. And also reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
How much plastics is recycled?
9% - Recycled
79% - landfills
12% - incineration
Impacts of landfills:
It releases greenhouse gas when it decomposes. So it leads to a change in the climate. It produces leachates which lead to enter into waterways and soils nearby.
Impacts of incineration:
During incineration releases toxic emissions into the environment.
Plastics in the Ocean:
- Plastics are reached the ocean by the following reasons. The wind carries the plastic water into the stream and rivers. Careless and improper waste disposal, and illegal dumping near the ocean.
- When UV light passes the plastics break down into small fragments and they will mistakenly eat by the ocean organisms. This type of plastic is smaller in size so it is called microplastics. Research not completed but if the microplastic goes into the bloodstream it affects the reproductive & immune systems.
- Microplastics are found in many brands of bottled water through tests.
There are 5 gyres of ocean in the world,
- North Atlantic gyre
- South Atlantic gyre
- North pacific gyre
- South pacific gyre
- Indian ocean gyre
Alternatives:Plastics play a major role but it affects our environment in many ways, so there are some alternatives:
- Plastic carry bags 👉 Tropica starch/paper/bag/cloth, jute bags.
- Plastic flags 👉 paper/ cloth/ flags.
- Plastic banner and flex 👉 paper/ cloth/ banner.
- Plastic plates & spoons 👉 banana leaves/ areca nut plates/ edible spoons
- Steel/ceramic/glass plates 👉 sugarcane/ bagasse plates.
- Plastic cups 👉 clay cup/glass/steel/ceramic/sugarcane bagasse cups.
- Polyester carpets 👉 wool, cotton or jute.
- Plastic toothbrush 👉 bamboo toothbrush.
- Lotion in plastic bottles 👉 lotion bars/oils in glass bottles.
We people have to get the awareness about the plastic disposal method, the resin codes to avoid the plastic wastes. If the situation continues by increasing the plastics in the ocean the plastic content in the ocean will drastically increase than the amount of fish in 2050.