A Little Thing Called Plastic

Plastic, unfortunately, is seriously underrated. There are hundreds of uses for plastic, and it is a material which holds together many different products and industries, such as transport, sports and renewable energy.

The recycling capabilities of plastic means that the lifespan of a plastic bottle could eventually be longer than that of a Giant Turtle (over 100 years). This fact alone should be enough to get people excited about this versatile material. However, as is the case with all great things, its greatness is forgotten about.

So, here are some fun facts about plastic that you might not have known:

Over 142,000m2 of PVC fabric was used in the construction of London 2012 Olympic venues.

The Boeing 787s (nicknamed ‘Boeing’s Plastic Dream’) skin is made up of 100% Plastic composites with plastic making up 50% of all materials in the plane.

There is a species of fungus from the Amazon that feeds on plastic. It can live on plastic alone, and can do so without oxygen, potentially leading the way towards new techniques for bioremediation.

The Beijing subways allow travelers to use plastic bottles as a form of payment to encourage recycling.

If you tie a plastic bag around leaves on a tree you’ll get enough drinkable water to keep you out of dehydration.

Starbucks’ white paper cups are impossible to recycle due to the plastic liner on the inside.

If you start stacking Lego bricks on top of one another, you would make a tower of bricks 3.5 kilometers (2.17 miles) high before the plastic of the lowest brick fails.

Cellophane is not plastic, but is actually made from cellulose, and will biodegrade in about 90 days in the soil.

In 1950, Nat Sherman introduced the plastic-tipped cigar. The company applied for a patent, which was never granted, but for 32 years the company successfully bluffed away rivals by marking its packaging with the words “patent pending” and threatening legal action.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar Showcase Stadium has been designed to use super reflective, triangulated PVC fabric to create a zero carbon, sustainable stadium providing comfortable playing conditions.

It’s amazing what a little thing called plastic can do.


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