Plastic Consumption

The world’s first completely synthetic plastic, bakelite, was invented at the turn of the twentieth century by Leo Baekeland. He is also responsible for coining the term plastic itself, a term used to refer to a variety of different compounds and polymers known for just how flexible and easily molded they are. Over the past century, plastics have become more and more widely popularized throughout the world, and mankind’s rates of production and consumption of plastic products have surpassed that of anything else comparable to these compounds. Plastics are not only inexpensive to make and unable to be damaged by water, but also degrade at an incredibly low rate. For these qualities, and many more, they have replaced for the most part any natural substance wood or stone, and are used nigh ubiquitously in every aspect of human life.  Plastic products are used for essentially any purpose imaginable, including everything from medical devices to construction to the aerospace industry. In more economically developed nations, about a third of all plastic is used in packaging, and another third is used for the construction industry. The remaining third is used for every other aspect of modern life. As a result of the truly absurd amounts of plastic being used for literally every thing you might need, there is a large amount of plastic waste that must be dealt with. Because most plastics are fairly durable and degrade at an incredibly slow rate, almost all of the plastic the human race has ever …

Straws in Restaurants

No More Straws in Restaurants, But Why?

For decades, plastic straws have been used ubiquitously throughout the entire world. From restaurants to gas stations, any business that offered its customers beverages also provided plastic straw through which to drink them. But in the last few years, these straws have begun to slowly disappear. The primary reason for this phenomenon has been an increased public awareness of the environmental impact of plastic products. For many years, plastic products have dominated the market, as they are relatively cheap and impressively durable. But because these products are made to last, they take up to hundreds of years to degrade. Some scientists have estimated that due to the enormous amount of plastic waste being dumped in the ocean, in approximately fifty years there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. When on land, plastic exposed to chlorine can release harmful chemicals into land and water around it, poisoning anything that drinks the water and hurting plant life. In landfills, the biodegradable plastic products release the greenhouse gas methane, known to contribute significantly to global warming. In the water, plastic waste has built up to a shocking degree. By 2012, estimates were made that about 160 million tonnes of plastic pollution was spread throughout the world’s oceans. One study has estimated that there could be up to five trillion pieces of plastic floating at sea. This litter produces chemicals that are not only harmful to marine life, but also to humans. We eat fish that contains toxins our pollution has …