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What is Plastic?

Environment | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Learning Pod

Plastics are moldable and bendable materials which we use as shopping bags, utensils, toys, CDs and plumbing pipes. There are some natural plastics like rubber which grow from plants. We make the other types of plastics.

Did You Know Facts

  • Alexander Parkes had created the first plastic which he had called parkesine.
  • John Hyatt chemically combined nitrocellulose with camphor to make plastic called celluloid which is used to make ping pong balls.
  • Baekeland combined formaldehyde and phenol and heated it. He found that when this substance cooled, it hardened to form a strong plastic which we use for making auto parts. This plastic will have no change when heated again.
  • Nylon, a plastic, was made by Wallace Caruthers, who mixed adipic acid and diaminohexane monomers; to form long fibers.

Where is Plastic Used?

  1.  Nylon is used in making tents and clothing as it is light and resilient.
  2. John Rex Whinfield formed Polyethylene Terephthalate or PET plastic which is used to make Ziploc storage bag.
  3. PVC pipes or Polyvinyl Chloride, formed when a plasticizer liquid is added to the hard vinyl chloride, is used in making pipes, electric cables, clothing etc.
  4. Teflon plastics is used in making of cooking utensils and plumbing tape.
  5. Polyethylene allows the making of garbage bags and disposable gloves.

Why are Plastic Bags banned in some parts of India?

Plastic bags are now banned because they are made up of non-biodegradable material which cannot be broken down into simpler substances in the environment and can stay there for more than a thousand years, thus contaminating soil and water bodies. These platic bags also enter the food chain and get eaten by animals.

Why are Plastic Bags bad for the Environment:

Plastic is a substance that cannot be recycled or incinerated as burning plastic releases harmful smoke. So, it has to be dumped at the landfills or in the oceans.

Plastic Bags Fact

  • One plastic bag may take anything between 200–1000 years to get decomposed. Most of the plastic that was manufactured, used and thrown as early as 1950s is still here on this planet and will continue being here for centuries to come.
  • There are innumerable pieces of plastic debris floating in or near every square mile of ocean all over the world, putting a great share in the global plastic bag pollution. After every three years, the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans gets DOUBLED!
  • Plastic is not just harmful for animals; it is also thought to be carcinogenic (cancer causing agent) for the human beings. Along with that, inks and colours used on some bags contain lead, a toxic chemical.
  • If 1,000 sets of jute and paper bags are used regularly in your society, it would save 1,000,000 plastic bags every year.

How to Recycle Plastic Bags?

  1. Rcycling plastic bags would mean reusing them as shopping bags.
  2. Use these bags as bin liners. Dual fucntion of recycling and being hygienic in the process. Also keep some clean plastic bags in your car to trash out stuff instead of throwing it on the road.
  3. Plastic bags can be multi-functional during travel.
  4. These bags can be donated to the local charity, store, flea markets or libraries. These bags would be put to best use by them.
  5. Plastic bags can also be used for satisfying the artistic apeptite in you by making things using plastic bags like knitting a new bag out of it, cutting out streamers etc.
  6. For a cleaner and greener surroundings, we should recycle plastic bags as well as educate our friends about recycling plastic bags.

 For more environment related articles and videos, visit: Environment for Kids category.


  1. it is a very interesting information for me.But the problem is that i can’t find any information for my project.could you please make something on this so that i can make my project. the last day for my projest is 28.08.15