Nature’s Deadliest Predator
“Plastic is forever… and a lot cheaper than diamonds” (Meikle 9). When plastics were first discovered they were called the material of 1,000 uses. This first, very primitive plastic was called Bakelite, discovered in 1907 (Knight 5). Although plastic today can be chemically analyzed very well, when first discovered there was very little information known about the benefits and downfalls of this material. Plastics have many unique characteristics that make them extremely desirable as an applicable material. They are better known in the world of chemistry as polymers, poly meaning many and mers meaning parts. In order for a substance to be classified as a polymer, a compound must be made up of many of these…show more content… Polymers come in two distinctly different chemical make ups, thermoplastics, which can be reheated, reworked, and recycled, and thermosets, which once cured are completely locked into place and and cannot be recycled (“The Basics”). What makes these polymers so environmentally unfriendly is that they will not biodegrade. The long chains of covalent bonds makes the compounds so strong that they will only undergo a process called photodegradation. This photodegradation means that over time the polymers will simply break into smaller and smaller pieces, never completely going away (“The Basics”). These small pieces containing chemical toxins gravely endanger wildlife who confuse these pellets for food. Plastics are still relatively new materials, their potential not fully reached. The question is how will the use of so many non reusable plastics in a person’s everyday life affect the economy and environment in the long run? Plastic is one of the worlds most prominent resources and therefore it is a staple in not only in the United States economy, but in other economies around the world. To begin with, the plastics industry and manufacturing alone accounts for over nine hundred thousand jobs domestically. Meaning that of the 64.2% of the United States workforce, about one in every two hundred people is employed by the plastics industry (“Economic”).