Biological+Plastics - ESPM 192 Biological Plastics Plastics...

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ESPM 192 Biological Plastics Plastics are a major product of our new chemical society First produced in 1940’s 100 million tons/year Environmental impact of plastics Plastics mimic jellyfish and are consumed by marine life Plastics are consumed by animals and cause intestinal blockage Entrapment of animals in containers ec. Most plastics are virtually non-biodegradable Half-lives of 100’s to thousands of years Incineration of plastic-containing garbage leads to Dioxin production Chlorinated plastics lead to Dioxins and PCB’s upon combustion Chlorinated monomers in plastics are toxic upon breakdown or leaching Vinyl chloride a carcinogen and acutely toxic So-called degradable plastics don’t degrade – merely break-up into pieces Plastics production accounts for 4% of US energy consumption Plastics production consumes 3% of petroleum Plastics are major input into dwindling number of solid waste disposal sites Most plastics are difficult to recycle Recycling process is very polluting (Richmond fire) Low rate of recycling for most types of plastics Plastics are incompatible with each other when mixed during recycling Limited number of uses for recycled plastic Types of plastics Plastics are polymers – Greek word meaning “many units” Repeating chain of hydrocarbon or chlorinated hydrocarbon MW from 1000 TO 1 million Daltons Thermoset polymer – irreversible in shape after cooled Thermoplastic – weak binds allow re-melting and molding
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Biological+Plastics - ESPM 192 Biological Plastics Plastics...

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