Why is plastic a necessary evil?

Current use of plastic

As long as more than 80 % of the energy consumed in the world comes from fossil fuels and governments do not make a firm commitment to the use of alternative energies, it will be necessary to continue searching for and exploiting energy resources such as oil.

Oil prospecting and gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) raise many reasonable objections. Nevertheless, future demand trends could revive these activities in countries where oil and other fossil fuels are in short supply.

Not if we pay the world’s major producers on the cheap, of course. The situation changes if we refer to its geological formation. Simplifying it a lot, it even seems simple: a large amount of organic matter needs to be transformed through a progressive increase in pressure and temperature.

During this time, a large amount of organism remains must be preserved together with other sediments to form a source rock. The increase in pressure and temperature that this rock undergoes when it is buried helps to transform the organic matter into oil, and allows it to move through the subsoil.

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Why plastic takes so long to degrade

You don’t need to wear a mask and cape to save the world. 69% of respondents think that avoiding the use of straws is a real alternative to save the planet. And most feel that marine species and human beings are the ones who will benefit the most from eliminating this problem.

Finally, they consider that the best alternative to save the planet is to promote a culture of recycling (61%) and stop using plastics (59%). As well as using alternative energies (58%) and generating new fuels from garbage (56%).

Negative aspects of plastic

The source formula. Plastic is a material made up of a variety of organic, synthetic or semi-synthetic compounds, which have the property of being malleable and can therefore be molded into malleable solid objects of various shapes.

At the molecular level, plastics are made of polymers, which are long flexible chains of chemical compounds. This structure is what allows plastics to be easily molded without breaking, i.e. it gives them “plasticity”, which is where their name comes from.

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Natural plastics. One of the first recorded polymers dates back to the 16th century B.C., where ancient Mesoamerican cultures first processed natural rubber in the form of various objects: balls, sculptures or bands to tie axe heads to wooden handles.

The plastics industry began with the development of the first thermosetting plastics by Leo Baekeland in 1909 (and earlier with the creation of celluloid by Alexander Parkes). This chemist was the one who managed to produce the first synthetic polymer and also developed the “plastic molding” process, which allowed him to produce a variety of articles for sale. This material became known as “Bakelite” in honor of its creator.

Research work on plastics

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