In the 1950s plastic manufacturers began to mass-produce the lasting product on an exponential scale. In the 1950s, almost 1.7 million tons were produced yearly. By the year 2014, production around the globe had already reached 311 million tons and continues to increase with each passing year.
The reality of the situation is that the overall quantity is much higher since those made from polyamide, polyethene terephthalate, polyacrylic and polypropylene are not included in the previous total. However, experts predict that by the year 2050, as much as 2000 million tons would have already been produced.
This is even more alarming given that the need for plastic isn’t slowing down any time soon. For the most part, plastic is durable, cheap, light-weight and can be easily modified. Hence, its demand increases with each day. Plastics are used in just about every aspect of our everyday lives and just about anywhere you look, you’ll see something made from plastic.
In Europe, there are numerous sectors that are using up to 39.5% for packaging. Other industries such as the automotive industry use 8.6%, the construction industry uses 20.1%, agriculture ranges at 3.4% and the electronic industry uses up to 5.7%. Besides these, there are other uses of plastics from other industries that make up at least 22.7%.
When it comes to the environment, there are a number of raw materials that are used in the production of plastic that is harmful to the environment. Hence, there are several disadvantages to this. Lightweight materials usually end up very far from where they originated. Due to the durability of plastic products, they tend to last many lifetimes and are easily discarded.
Since these products are being developed and are widely available, they are now flooding the environment. Hence, a whopping 10% of this usually ends up as marine litter. If you are looking for glove boxes then look no further than Marine & Industrial Plastics.
If you didn’t already know, plastics are made from polymers. These are usually large molecules that are carbon-based and consist of repeated chains. These polymers are then made from special molecules known as monomers to form a series of long chains during the polymerization process.
In essence, monomers are thought of as being the building blocks for polymers. When polymers consist of repeated monomers that are identical, they’re referred to as homopolymers. These monomers then dictate the properties, size, and structure of the finished product.
Some of the more common ones include styrene, propylene, ethylene, and vinyl chloride. All of these are easily obtained from fossil fuels or even petroleum. At least 6% of the worlds oil production is used to make plastics. Besides both of these, other fuels such as plant oils and biomass can also be sued to manufacture bioplastics.
While this part of the industry is small, it continues to grow. Both biomass or oil provides the basic component for polymers. Due to this, the final product is not influenced by any of the raw materials used. Upon production, solvents and chemicals along with catalysts are used to produce the plastic.
Catalysts and initiators are readily used to help the process. Some of the most common catalysts used are tin, zinc, aluminium, titanium and magnesium. As the process progresses, other mixtures are used to alter the properties of the polymers.
Hence, the end product is modified. It should be noted that plastic production is usually dependent on the other components that are used since the properties are altered for special purposes. Due to this, plastics are very diverse and there are thousands of additives existing within the industry. While plastics heavily depend on these additives, they are not as resilient without them.