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Could Plastics be Eco-friendly?

Plastics are generally engineered to last, but with society’s ever-increasing immersion into sustainability and their focus on protecting the environment, emphasis is now being laid on designing plastics that will degrade faster. Environmentally friendly plastics fall into three categories:
1.Bioplastics: They are made from natural materials like corn and molasses.
2.Biodegradable plastics: They are made from our main petrochemicals, engineered to break down much faster.
3.Eco/Recycled plastics: These are normal plastics made from recycled plastic materials rather than using new petrochemicals.
Recycling is a feasible solution to the plastic disposal problem – old materials like used bottles recycled into new ones like clothing. Ecoplastic is a new product made from high-molecular polyethylene, it is a replacement for wood, is used in making outdoor benches. Its manufacturers boast of the product’s attractiveness, long life, and cheapness.
Two major limitations could be observed with recycled plastic:
First, recycled plastic is generally not used in making the same items the next tie round; for example old recycled plastic bottles don’t produce new plastic bottles, but rather produce lower-grade items like plastic benches.
Second, unless recycled plastics are produced with a net saving of energy and water, a decrease in GHG (greenhouse gas emissions), or some overall environmental benefit, they can’t be assumed better for the environment. Keeping waste out of landfills and transforming them into useful articles is superb, but what if huge amounts of energies are needed for the collection and recycling of the plastic, or worse, more costly than making brand new plastic products?

Works Cited

History of Plastics. (2015). Retrieved May 21, 2015, from SPI - The Plastics Industry Trade Association:
Knight, L. (2014, May 17). A Brief History of plastics, natural and synthetic. Retrieved May 16, 2015, from British Broadcasting Corporation - BBC:
Lytle, C. L. (2015). When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from Plastic Pollution:
North, E., & Rolf, H. (2014). Plastics and Environmental Health: The Road Ahead. Reviews on Environmental Health, 28(1), 1-8. doi:10.1515/reveh-2012-0030

PlasticsEurope. (2015). What is plastic? Retrieved May 13, 2015, from PlasticsEurope:


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