Essay, Research Paper: Plastic


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Many individuals today have civilized bodies and barbarous souls. Many are blind
to the real sights of this world and deaf to its voice. However, no matter how
ignorant one may be, he or she cannot disregard the significance of plastics in
his or her life. Although they were not recognized as such, many materials used
centuries ago for clothing and elements of construction, were natural polymers
based on starch and cellulose. Then, ever since Alexander Parkes concocted the
first man-made plastic in 1862, people utilized plastics in
everything—automobiles, homes, entertainment, clothes, and even medicine. In
addition to its many uses in everyday products, plastics can perform functions
at a cost lower than other materials, and perhaps more efficiently too. Where
would humanity be without the use of plastics? Although there is no way that
anybody can deny the fact that plastics enhance everybody’s lives, many are
unaware how important plastics are to the society. While some people may argue
that the invention of computers is the most important development in the last
2,000 years, plastics allow the manufacture of computers to occur. The more
obvious use of plastics is Tupperware, which makes mothers happy all over the
world by making the preservation of leftovers more convenient. Along with
satisfying the adults, plastics bring smiles to the younger generations with
Barbie dolls, footballs, Frisbees, and Hula Hoops. Then, in order to assure that
the little girls and boys are playing without the risk of hurting themselves,
producers gave rise to safeguards such as helmets and kneepads. Furthermore, in
the fashion industry, the discovery of nylon in 1920’s created a big craze.
Instead of animal hair in toothbrushes and silk stockings, chemists replaced
them with nylon; this caused American women to storm department stores across
the country to purchase this latest in women’s hosiery. From the first moment
a man opens his eyes in the morning to laying his head down on the pillow at
night, he is constantly surrounded by the wonderful world of plastics. Besides
ameliorating the quality of many lives, the widespread use of plastics also
became one of the major contributors to the economy. For instance, in United
States, or the largest consumer and producer of the plastics in the world,
shipments of plastics totaled $274.5 billion in 1996. Also, due to plastics’
light weight and durability, consumers can purchase economy-size products,
inducing cheaper shipping-and-handling fee and yet extremely convenient .
Moreover, in plastics industry accounted for 1.3 million jobs, helping every
family to expand their employment opportunities. Less people would have to sleep
on the streets; with the steady increase in the past two and a half decades, the
plastics industry grants those in poverty another chance to pick themselves off
the streets and start new lives. A lot of people believe that plastics are
hazardous to the environment. However, it is not the material that is dangerous
to nature—it is the people that utilize them. Many will be surprised to hear
that plastics are derived from natural resources, and in addition, because
plastics are so efficient, their function often conserves other resources. As a
result, plastics create less pollution and employ fewer substantially poisonous
ingredients. Moreover, plastics toughness permits many products to be reused
over and over again, and therefore decreasing the quantity of trash disposed.
Similarly, plastics recycling program grants access to communities to collect
plastics products. Therefore, plastics are only precarious to the environment if
the users recklessly dump them in the garbage can or throwing it on the streets
instead of reusing them. Other than commonplace uses of plastics, most people
does not obtain the knowledge that plastics aid in such matters as preserving
the great historical remains. A polymer coating protect the Statue of Liberty
and other famous monuments worldwide. Another use of plastic that is not usually
known would be billiard balls. Before plastics, hundreds and thousands of
elephants were killed for their ivory to make billiard balls. Instead of
slaughtering the innocent animals and purchasing the billiard balls for an
enormous amount of price, plastics allow people to play with plastic billiard
balls with equal amusement. Furthermore, beginning with the dawn of the space
age in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I into orbit to the Hubble
Telescope at the end of 1999, plastic has permitted man to travel the far
reaches of space, fulfilling the scientists’ dreams. Without plastics to
construct vehicles and other equipment that the astronauts need to survive,
space exploration would be confined to the use of a land-based telescope.
Plastics will definitely be a huge part of the next generations and the far
future. Can anybody live without plastics? Probably, but their lives would be
quite miserable. Plastics are components of numerous amount of products in
society nowadays, and their unique characteristics make them advantageous and
easy to use. Furthermore, plastics save time and money, along with the earth's
resources and therefore, improving the lives of people everywhere.
Plastics—the substance of the long past, present, and distant future.
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