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"The Invention of Plastic" Pros and Cons

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Kevin Janssen

on 5 October 2012

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Transcript of "The Invention of Plastic" Pros and Cons

(?) Before plastic: Before the invention of the plastic, people used other substances, like clay, ceramic, glass, wood, etc., to keep storage, but there were few of them that could be molded. It wasn't an easy task and didn't give a precise solution. Rubber Celluloid 1839 by
Goodyear When cold, it can be momentarily flexible enough to mold, but it will eventually stick back to it's original shape The process is called vulcanization. When heated, sulfur reacts with crude rubber that made it stretchable A mix of nitric acid-sulfuric with acid mixture on cotton, makes a nitrocellulose, wich was use for gun powder by the military. Invented by John Hyatt by using Charles Schonbein's formula in 1870. (cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr First Generations of Plastic Bakelite When this substance was combined with camphor, it created celluloid. This new polymer was used for photograph filming, billiard and ping-pong balls, and dental plates. Leo Baekeland's first synthetic polymer in 1909 Phenol and formaldehyde compose this substance. It can be molded when hot, and then hardens stiff. Phones, handles, car parts, furniture, and jewelry are made of this, and is not heat nor electricity conductor. This led to phenolic resins; a new similar class of plastics. In 1930, Wallace Carruthers, came up with a plastic that could be taken in fibers. Nylon The substance is made by the condensation of adipic acid and a type of diaminohexane monomers. It is used for clothing, coverings, luggage, bags and ropes. Plastic has become a vital part of modern humanity. When we wake up from our nylon bed, we put on our rubber sandals and brush our teeth with the plastic toothbrush. After a bath, we go to our kitchen and take yesterday's scrambled eggs from our plastic container, heat it up, and eat it in a plastic plate with plastic knifes and plastic forks. And so our day follows, depending on the simplest, and yet deadliest, petroleum-derived material. We build utensils to make our lives easier, but we are really building weapons of self-destruction. And it sounds hypocrite for an individual that needs the same material he is objecting to write his accusations, but to survival the world we need to adapt to it.
Here, in Guatemala, we lack of consciousness about our country. Plastic is really helpful in some ways, but we don't realize, or don't care, about the harm it does. Due to it's components, it is not biodegradable. It takes thousands of years for the earth and it's decomposers to get rid of these and when it does, it is harmful. In the "basurero" (dump) of zone 4 it became a critical issue for the living of the people there. Also, the wastes get stuck in the sewer systems and when it rains, the streets get flooded causing traffic jam.
This is not only a problem in Guatemala. All over the world plastic is causing lots of ecological damage and health issues to us. There is a plastic waste patch of at least 700,000 km² in the pacific ocean. That's more than all of Central America, which measures about 524,000 km². This affects the ecosystem, including the fish we consume. Not only our food is affected, but the food of the fauna there. If all the ocean surface is covered with trash, then there is not enough sunlight for plankton to grow. With no plankton, the whole marine food chain is affected. Effects of plastic. Luckily there is
people willing to make a change.
organizations around the world are
fighting the war against pollution and
polluters. But that does not mean that we can
leave it all to them; that's not how society works. We are to help each other and each other needs. There are things that you can do in your city/town to help the environment. You can REDUCE plastic by not buying plastic items or buy recycled items, REUSE plastic
like plastic bags and bottles you have, and finally you can RECYCLE plastic by
separating plastic garbage.
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