Plastic is made from a variety of organic polymers into a synthetic material that has industrialized the world; however, it has become an issue of how we can dispose of it and where can we put it. The base material of plastic is not biodegradable, so here are some incredible facts that can encourage you to recycle, encourage someone to join you in cleaning up our environment to prolong Earth’s lifespan, and brighten your knowledge about this quirky material.
Facts about Plastic in the History Books
- Henry Ford made a car from soybean plastic and hemp in 1941, and it ran on ethanol.
- Plastic-tipped cigars were introduced by a delinquent named Nat Sherman who sold his product with “patent pending” on it, despite the FDA denying him a patent for almost 32 years.
- General Electric designed a system to bring an astronaut home from orbit to Earth, in case of an emergency. The system consisted of a deorbit rocket, plastic bags filled with polyurethane foam, and a parachute.
- As of recent times, Rwanda was the first country to ban plastic bags after ending the genocide and placing a new president in power in 1994. Africa was drowning in garbage of all kinds, the ban of plastic reduce infant mortality and region illness over half.
- In Los Angeles, the Ivanhoe Reservoir was filled with over 2 million plastic spheres to reflect the UV light, so that harmful elements would not form a carcinogen.
On the Home Front
- From the familiar game of Jenga, plastic is proven to be a stable product with high flexibility. When stacking Lego bricks, the tower will not collapse until it is stacked to almost 2.17 miles high (3.5km).
Those little pizza box tables in the pizza tray are actually called “Pizza Savers”. Officially, there are no other uses for them. They can be used for dollhouse tables and for egg holders, if you turn them upside down.
- The familiar “new car smell” that customers are emotionally attuned to is a result of an additive called plasticizers, which are often endocrine disruptors.
- Madison, Wisconsin’s official city bird is a plastic flamingo lawn ornament.
What a Waste
- The inner plastic liner of a Starbucks’ paper cup makes it impossible for it to be recycled because it is not biodegradable.
More than 6,000 Americans incur injuries from opening plastic packaging every year, as it is not only flexible, but also strong and durable.
- “An ocean desert” is a region of ocean garbage patches with almost no life. This prevents the garbage from getting into the ocean, but pollutes the land on which it sets.
- A common toxin found in Tupperware called phthalates has been found to shrink unborn baby’s body parts during pregnancy if the mother consumes the food stored in Tupperware.
Now that’s a Disposal!
- In the UK, scientists developed a physical T1000 polymer. It is the first self-fixing plastic in the world. They called it the Terminator for its alloy, self-fixing properties relatable to the world-renown movie. This could aid in recycling plastic in whole new ways. We just ask that they don’t use it plastic packaging.
- There’s a company who claims to have found a way to turn plastic into crude oil. This could reduce the use of fossil fuels for gasoline, and help the Americas obtain their own fuel source.
- Plastic can be made from milk. It sounds grotesque, but the end product is a biodegradable, non flammable, anti allergenic plastic that is insoluble in water. The downside is that it is not flexible.
- Scientists have discovered a fungus species in the Amazon that lives on plastic alone. It is also anaerobic, which could create new methods to use other forms of life to break down and consume environmental pollutants to clean up polluted areas in the country.
Recycling – try this at home, kids
The Chinese government has created reverse vending machines to reduce the amount of pollution in their populated urban regions. These machines encourage people to recycle plastic bottles in exchange for one-way train rides or mobile phone credits.
- The Environmental Protection Agency calculates roughly recycling a ton of plastic conserves about 3.8 barrels of crude oil.
- Plastic bottles are the most common type of plastic involved in DIY projects. It makes for a great jewelry stand, vertical garden, or bouquet lamp to fill in an odd spot in your home. Plus, it reduces the amount of plastic thrown into landfills each day.