Sphere formed from assorted domestic waste over white

10 Interesting Things About Plastic…

  1. The word plastic has existed for a lot longer than the plastics we know. Plastic is derived from the Latin word plasticus and the Greek word plastikos, both meaning “able to be molded”. It was probably used in relation to clay before it was fired in a kiln.
  2. The first natural plastic was developed in 1855 by, Alexander Parkes, to be used as a replacement for ivory. It was unveiled at the 1862 Great Exhibition in London and called Parkesine. The first synthetic plastic was invented by Leo Baekeland in the 1900’s. Leo developed a process to produce moldable synthetic resins and Bakelite was born.
  3. After the First World War, the plastics industry mushroomed. Polystyrene and polyvinyl were early plastics.
  4. Most synthetic plastics are made from oil and are often mixed with other chemicals. These that can be poisonous when they leach out of packaging.
  5. The impact of plastic starts from the energy used to manufacture it, all the way to the difficulty in disposing of it. Of the 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic that has been produced, only nine percent has been recycled! And almost every bit of plastic made still exists.
  6. There are many positive uses of plastic – preserving the freshness of food and drinks, facilitating the manufacture of renewable energy sources like solar cells and wind turbines and it can reduce the weight of vehicles, cutting fuel use and CO2 emissions.
  7. The negatives? Plastics are generally non-biodegradable. They take centuries to decay. Its use is often unnecessary. Why buy bananas in a plastic bag, they are already wrapped!
  8. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the name given to a collection of marine debris mostly comprising plastic in the North Pacific Ocean.
  9. Scientists in the Netherlands are developing an ocean cleaning system which uses the ocean’s currents and a barrier to remove plastic waste. A 100 km long system will be deployed in 2020 to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
  10. The Beijing subways are allowing travelers to use plastic bottles as a form of payment to encourage recycling. Watch ? ?

Unfortunately we’re all getting so used to seeing the terrible images of plastic pollution around the world, that we’re almost becoming immune to them. Even statistics that tell us how EVERYDAY approx 8 million tonnes of plastic finds its way into our oceans, have lost their ability to shock. That’s why we created #OneSmallThingMyNI to highlight some of the small everyday things you can do to reduce your use of plastic in the hope that together we can motivate and encourage others to reduce, reuse and recycle too.