Plastic bags, plastic cutlery, plastic bottles, plastic food storage containers and more have been in the niche in recent years, often for good reason. The plastic submerges the dumps and seems to last forever. Now, we worry about its detrimental effect on human health, especially when it is heated. Is there a redemptive quality to plastic? Despite the health risks associated with it, plastic has revolutionized many areas of medicine and made life easier, cheaper and more radiant in many ways.
The word plastic originally meant soft and strong. Plastic is a polymer, a word that means "makes many parts". Each type of plastic is composed of different ingredients, including some found naturally in nature, including fossil fuels. It is these ingredients that give the polymer its flexibility, strength and other properties.
Plastic is essential in many items we use every day. It can be molded in many forms and resists well. We see it in cars, kayaks and bike parts, trains and planes. If we replace these parts with metal, they would rust, and the leather would be very expensive and not so durable. Think about the importance of computers in our lives today. Every computer has a lot of plastic parts. Plastic can be strong enough to hold the mechanisms that make computers work, but small enough to make the whole machine smaller and lighter. This translates to being more portable and less expensive than old computers.
Plastic has enriched the way we live in our homes both large and small. Houses are a major expense, but they would be even more expensive without plastic.
Plastic has been a substitute for other materials since its inception. The first known apparition dates back to 1869, when a New York company offered $ 10,000 to anyone who could find a substitute for ivory, which was becoming scarce. John Wesley Hyatt discovered that treating cellulose with camphor produced a substance that mimicked ivory, horn and tortoiseshell. When plastic is used instead of natural resources like ivory and wood, it helps prevent the scarcity of these materials.
In the field of medicine, plastic has been at the origin of many inventions of lengthening life and even rescue. Think of the artificial heart. It can replace a real heart, ventricles and valves and last for years while a patient is waiting for an available heart transplant. Plastic has improved the ability to keep medical environments sterile through the use of plastic examination gloves, syringes and IV bags. A very durable plastic is used for knee and hip replacement parts, pacemakers and other innovations.
Eternal in landfills and waters
On the other hand, the durability and longevity of the plastic allow it to not fall easily into landfills. Convenience items for limited use, such as plastic utensils, are to be discarded. Those that can be recycled or reused, such as fragile water bottles and plastic grocery bags, are often discarded instead. Reusable items such as bowls, food storage containers and plastic mixing spoons and tumblers, melt or wear with use, which does not occur with metal or glass. So, those who are thrown away, too.
And it's not just the dumps that overflow with plastic. The discarded plastic ends up in the oceans, as evidenced by the Pacific Ocean, which contains a Texas-sized discharge that swirls off the coast. Discarded plastic also harms marine creatures that eat or get stuck on it.