Marine Debris Removal …Hawaiian Islands
Plastic objects

Plastic is a single word, but plastic isn’t just one thing. Think about how different a food wrapper is from a water bottle.

Plastic – Any of numerous substances that can be shaped and molded when subjected to heat or pressure. Plastics are easily shaped because they consist of long-chain molecules known as polymers, which do not break apart when flexed. Plastics are usually artificial resins but can also be natural substances, as in certain cellular derivatives and shellac.

Plastics can be pressed into thin layers, formed into objects, or drawn into fibers for use in textiles. Most do not conduct electricity well, are low in density, and are often very tough.

Polyvinyl chloride, methyl methacrylate, and polystyrene are plastics.

What all plastics share in common are plasticizers — special chemicals that allow the material to be molded into nearly any shape or texture. Plasticizers are added to plastic during the manufacturing process.

  • Phthalates add softness and squishiness to things like shampoo bottles, raincoats and rubber duckies. These molecules are also used in perfumes and makeup.
  • BPA gives a hard, clear, almost glasslike feel to products such as baby bottles, blender bowls and reusable. BPA also appears in the lining of many food and soda cans, and in DVDs.

Do it
Here are some challenges for you to work on…

  • make a list of all the plastics in your “world” in a day. Record every plastic item you use in a day. Surprised? This will likely be a very long list. If not, perhaps you missed some.

Learn more…