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The Weekly Advertiser

Potential in plastics

By DEAN LAWSON

If we were to try to isolate the most influential product created by modern-day humans it would be hard to look beyond plastic.

It seems remarkable that this product, considering its limited use up until the Second World War, has become such a part of life. Everywhere we look there is plastic – most of it having a synthesised petrochemical origin.

Petrochemical plastic, in some forms almost indestructible at a base level, is a modern wonder of versatility and clear reflection of our ingenuity.

But petrochemical plastic has a dark side. Its man-made resilience against natural aerobic and anaerobic decomposition means as a waste product it has become a worldwide environmental nightmare.

A long-lost plastic toy in landfill has the potential to outlive the child it was provided for by hundreds of generations. When petrochemical plastic does break down, it becomes microscopic litter with the potential to enter the food chain.

We have seen shocking images of plastic waste accumulating in the oceans and it has become common knowledge that marine animals around the world are choking on various forms of the product.

Massive multi-billion-dollar recycling programs are working overtime to retrieve plastic waste but are unlikely to make a serious dent in the problem.

From a waste perspective the future story of plastic is not all bad news.

Plant-based

While we associate plastic with the petrochemical industry, the product has plant-based origins which means we have always had the potential to take two steps back.

 

  • Get the full story in the September 24, 2014 edition of The Weekly Advertiser.
    READ IT ONLINE HERE!

Short URL: http://www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au/?p=22627

Posted on Sep 24 2014

Posted by on Sep 24 2014. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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