The Pros And Cons Of Plastics

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Plastic materials have been already produced since the last century and in 1909 the synthesis of the first true plastic named Bakelite occurred. They approximately came into common use in the 1950s and as the time passed by the established trend was nearly all consumer goods to contain and/or be contained by plastic since their products offered extensive benefits in everyday human life (Moore et al., 2008; Provencher et al., 2010). Subsequently, the global production of plastics has increased from 1.5 million metric tons in 1950 to reach 280 million metric tons in 2011 (PlasticsEurope, 2012). As such, this resilient material which lacks recovery infrastructure and options for reuse has become the fastest growing component of waste that runs…show more content…
Polymers are man-made, organic compounds that have been fabricated by petroleum or natural gas and produced by polymerization (Cole et al., 2011; Hammer et al., 2012). During this process, repeating segments, called monomers, react to form the polymers through either simple and radical reactions or more complex ones. On the other hand, additives are of small molecular size and could be specific chemical compounds such as flame retardants, stabilizers, antioxidants, surfactants and pigments (Sheftel, 2000; OECD, 2004; Lithner et al., 2011). Their function consists of imparting new properties to the plastic they comprise (Sheftel, 2000; OECD, 2004). In general, the plastic family encompasses a plethora of polymeric materials including polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene terepthalate (PET), nylon, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). Among them, it has been reported that polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene have the highest production volumes and consist the main plastic components of marine debris (Rios et al., 2007; Sudhakar et al., 2007; Barnes et al., 2009; Martins et al., 2011; Engler, 2012, Wright et al, 2013; Vianello et al.,

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