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Plastics Boon or a Curse

Last updated date: 15th Apr 2024
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Introduction to Plastics

Plastics are a huge variety of artificial or semi-artificial substances that use polymers as a major ingredient. Their plasticity makes it viable for plastics to be moulded, extruded or pressed into strong items of numerous shapes. This adaptability, plus a huge variety of properties, which include being lightweight, durable, flexible, and less expensive to produce, has brought about its vast use.

Plastics usually are made via human industrial systems. In present-day plastics are derived from fossil fuel-primarily based chemicals like natural gas or petroleum; however, the latest industrial techniques use variations crafted from renewable substances, which include corn or cotton derivatives.

Plastic as a Boon

Plastics have been a substitute for metals and glass. Plastic pipes aren't corroded through the water. They are used in manufacturing loads of household gadgets with boxes, bottles, toys, baggage, pens, combs, buckets, toothbrushes, chairs, tables, TV/ radio cabinets, handles of stress cookers, and frying pans. Plastics create a part of nearly all electric appliances. It is present in vehicles and aeroplane parts. We have turned out to be tremendously dependent on plastics. It can be hard to assume our existence with plastics.

Plastic as a Curse

Plastic, though, appears to be a completely beneficial material; it may be very dangerous because it produces harmful gases while burning. Plastics are non-biodegradable, and microbes cannot spoil them. They are also harmful to the soil and take loads of years to decompose. Plastic baggage thrown away carelessly on roads and different areas discover its way into drains and sewage pipes.

Classification of Plastics

  • Thermoplastics: This type of plastic may be bent effortlessly and can get deformed on heating. These may be softened on heating and repeatedly moulded to get the preferred shape. These are polythene, PVC, polypropylene, polyester, teflon, polystyrene, perspex, etc. These are specially used for making toys, combs, convey bags, bottles, and different forms of containers.

  • Thermosetting plastics: These plastics may be heated and moulded as soon as they into form and can't be softened and moulded once again on reheating. The chains of those plastics get richly cross-linked because of heating. Examples of those plastics are bakelite, melamine, etc. Bakelite is used for making electric switches, handles of numerous utensils, etc., as it's far a bad conductor of heat and electricity. Melamine may be used to make ground tiles, kitchenware, fabrics, etc., as it may resist fire and tolerate heat.

What Can We Do to Minimize the Overuse of Plastics?

  • Don't accept plastic bags.

  • Always carry a cloth or a piece of paper or can carry a jute bag when going shopping.

  • Do not throw any waste food or any other thing in plastic bags.

  • Never store eatables in plastic bags.

  • Always use washable and reusable plastic containers instead of disposable plastic containers to store food.

  • Try to buy edibles sold in glass jars.

  • Don't use plastic chairs and tables.

  • Never dispose of plastics that can be recycled.

  • Don’t buy eatables wrapped in plastic; buy bulk cereals.

  • Say no to plastic; ask for paper bags at the grocery store.

  • We can save crude oil also by minimising the use of plastics as plastic is made from crude oil.

  • Use match sticks instead of plastic-covered lighters.

Why Polythene Bags Should not be Thrown Along With Garbage?

Polythene bags should not be thrown along with garbage because they are non-biodegradable substances that cannot decompose and can blend with the soil and create pollution, harming living things. These plastics, when eaten by animals like cows, can choke them and result in death. Also, as they do not decompose, they can blend with the soil, which leads to a decrease in the growth of plants and can destroy the soil too.

Recycling of Plastic

To keep the surroundings from hazardous uses of plastic, we must follow 3Rs- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Reduce plastic usage and reuse harmless plastic to assist in lowering its overproduction. Recycling and reusing plastic substances is the best perspective to reduce the environmental impacts of open landfills and open-air burning, which are regularly practised to control household waste.

Many recycling containers may be placed in towns and seashores in coastal regions to increase the prevention and lower pollution. The plastic recycling techniques contain collecting, sorting, shredding, washing, melting, reorganisation and forming the latest products.

Interesting Facts

  • Plastics are crafted from chemical substances discovered in fossil fuels which include natural gases and petrol.

  • Plastic bottles take 450 years to decompose in landfills, so think before you use single-use plastic.

  • More than forty per cent of plastic is used simply once before being thrown in the garbage.

  • More than five trillion plastic pieces are floating in our oceans.

  • Maybe there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050.

  • There is a plastic island within the ocean 3 times larger than France.

Key Features

  • Plastic became a concept to be a boon however it became a curse.

  • Plastic may be very dangerous because it produces poisonous gases while burning.

  • As it is non-biodegradable, it's far more dangerous to the soil and takes many years to degrade or decompose.

FAQs on Plastics Boon or a Curse

1. What are the problems associated with plastic disposal?

The plastic bags are carelessly thrown here and there and are liable for clogging the drains, too. Also, that garbage sells off wherein animals, mainly cows, are consuming garbage and swallowing substances like poly bags and plastic wrappers of food. The plastic things choke the respiration system of those animals or form a lining inside their stomachs, which may lead to death.

2. Which process is used to manufacture plastic pipes?

Extrusion moulding is used to manufacture plastic pipes.

3. Give an example of thermoplastic material.

Electric insulation is a common example of a thermoplastic material.