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What are plastics?

What are plastics?

Plastics is the term commonly used to refer to a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic materials with a wide range of uses.
Plastic can either be ‘synthetic’ or ‘bio-based’.
Synthetic plastics are derived from crude oil, natural gas or coal.
Bio-based plastics are derived from renewable products such as carbohydrates, starch, vegetable fats and oils, bacteria and other biological substances.
Plastics can also be made from waste biomass or animal waste products from the industry.
Most plastics in use today are synthetic because of the ease of manufacturing from crude oil.

Plastics can be derived by the following steps:

1. Extraction from raw materials such as crude oil and natural gas and coal. These raw materials are complex mixtures of thousands of compounds and requires to be processed.
2. Refining process of crude oil into different petroleum products including monomers which later join to form polymers.
3. Polymerisation process in the petroleum industry where light olefin gases (gasoline) such as ethylene, propylene, butylene (monomers) are converted into polymers.


    What types of plastics are available within your locality?