Plastics have recently become the “bad guy” of materials, mainly because they don’t degrade easily or quickly. People throw away plastic and clog landfills or create unsightly trash. This has caused major problems for many wildlife. Marine animals, in particular, often get tangled up in plastic waste. Even worse, tiny plastic particles (” microplastics “) can damage the digestive systems of the animals that eat them.
As a species, humans aren’t very good at dealing with the amount of plastic waste we produce. However, plastic is a very useful material! You may be surprised to learn that plastic isn’t all bad. Let’s look at the useful aspects of plastic.
Plastics aren’t just for carrying your groceries home in a bag. They are good thermal insulators, and as such are used in buildings construction. They trap heat so that less energy is required to heat the building to an acceptable temperature.
One analysis showed that using plastic insulation boards in a building saved 150 times more energy than was used to make the original plastic. By reducing the amount of energy we need for heating our homes and offices, we can further reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.