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About Polymers:

Technical term for plastic


One of three basic categories of solid materials (metals,
ceramics, polymers)
Organic compounds chemically based on carbon,
hydrogen and other nonmetallic elements
Chemically inert, easily formed into complex shapes,
good insulators, low cost, lightweight, easy to modify
Manufactured to resist environmental degradations; take
hundreds of years to decompose
Types of commonly used polymers:
PLASTIC WASTE MANAGEMENT

Recycling
- Available technologies for recycling existing already
- Reduces need to synthesize new polymers
- Collected polymer wastes are mixed and incompatible with each
other; harder to recycle
- Not all plastic components are recycable
- Product downgrade
- Not a final disposal

Incineration
- Can be used for energy generation
- High water and gas pollution
- High cost
- High efficiency and semifinal disposal
- Can only be done in large scale

Biodegradation
- Biodegradable polymers can be made from natural materials
such as starch and cellulose
- Environmentally compatible
- Premature technology; high cost of production at the moment

STATS:
- Roughly 8 million tons of plastic dumped in oceans every year
- Enough plastic thrown each year to circle the earth four times
- Plastic accounts for 10% of total waste we generate
- About 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide, one million
bags used every minute; 150 bags a year per person
- Top five countries responsible for 60% of marine plastic entering
oceans: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam
- Its projected that by 2025, oceans could contain one ton of
plastic for every three tons of fish
- 22-43% of plastics end up in landfills
- Plastic debris results in about $13 billion a year in losses from
damaged marine ecosystems, affecting fisheries and tourisms
- Americans discard about 33.6 million tons of plastic every year,
only 6.5% recycled and 7.7% converted to energy

References:
[1] Callister, W. D. (2005). Fundamentals of materials science and
engineering: An integrated approach. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
[2] Albertsson, A., & Huang, S. J. (1995). Degradable polymers,
recycling, and plastics waste management. New York: M. Dekker.
[3] E. (2016). These 5 Countries Account for 60% of Plastic Pollution in
Oceans. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from
http://www.ecowatch.com/these-5-countries-account-for-60-of-plastic-
pollution-in-oceans-1882107531.html
[4] What Happens to All That Plastic? (n.d.). Retrieved November 27,
2016, from http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2012/01/31/what-happens-to-
all-that-plastic/
[5] Plastic Statistics. (2015). Retrieved November 27, 2016, from
http://oceancrusaders.org/plastic-crusades/plastic-statistics/