What is Plastic?
The continuing production and use of single-use plastics is not sustainable for our planet.
Our previous blog post Plastic Waste under Sea explained the dangers of plastic waste in our ocean, which effects our marine animals, as well as releasing toxic chemicals back to the human body, but how many of us know what plastic is made of?
Here we explore the science behind plastic to help our understanding of this critical social issue.
Plastics are chains of molecules linked together. These chains are called polymers. Plastics Make it Possible explain that therefore many plastics begin with “poly”, such as polyethylene, polystyrene, and polypropylene. Polymers often are made of carbon and hydrogen and sometimes oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, chlorine, fluorine, phosphorous, or silicon.
Plastics often contain a complex blend of chemical substances. Some of these raise concerns about the potential adverse effect of human health and the environment. Most of the plastic left in landfills leak chemical substance which then makes its way into the earth and into water streams.
Did you realise that the plastic industry is highly reliant on finite stocks of oil and gas, which make up more than 90% of its raw material? Research explains that over 90% of plastics produced are derived from virgin fossil feedstocks and that the plastics sector will account for 20% of total oil consumption and 15% of the global annual carbon budget by 2050.
Not only are plastics polluting our oceans, they are contributing to an increase in global warming and it is becoming critical to address the greenhouse gas impact of plastics production.
There are around 7 different types of plastic:
Further research into the different types of plastic explain how dangerous some of them are. From causing asthma, to being linked to cancers in the human body, in addition to the dangers to our sea life.
Plastics are useful, but toxic and a solution to the plastics crisis is needed urgently.
How can Social Enterprise help?
The Social Enterprise business model has a social mission at its core. If there were more Social Enterprises dedicated to help tackle the plastics crisis, rather than huge corporations causing havoc on our planet for excessive greedy profit at the cost of our lives – then there would be a positive social impact. Businesses for good will bring the change we so desperately need.
If you want some entrepreneurial encouragement for creating a thriving business that tackles this important issue, then read our blogs on The Plastic Wet Wipe and Plastic in Fashion – The Hanger and click Learn to find out more about creating a Social Enterprise.
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