The History and Future of Plastics (7)-The Future of Plastics

Despite growing mistrust, plastics are critical to modern life. Plastics made possible the development of computers, cell phones, and most of the lifesaving advances of modern medicine. Lightweight and good for insulation, plastics help save fossil fuels used in heating and in transportation. Perhaps most important, inexpensive plastics raised the standard of living and made material abundance more readily available. Without plastics many possessions that we take for granted might be out of reach for all but the richest Americans. Replacing natural materials with plastic has made many of our possessions cheaper, lighter, safer, and stronger.

Since it’s clear that plastics have a valuable place in our lives, some scientists are attempting to make plastics safer and more sustainable. Some innovators are developing bioplastics, which are made from plant crops instead of fossil fuels, to create substances that are more environmentally friendly than conventional plastics. Others are working to make plastics that are truly biodegradable. Some innovators are searching for ways to make recycling more efficient, and they even hope to perfect a process that converts plastics back into the fossil fuels from which they were derived. All of these innovators recognize that plastics are not perfect but that they are an important and necessary part of our future.

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  2. The History and Future of Plastics (5)-Growing Concerns about Plastics
  3. The History and Future of Plastics (4)-Plastics Come of Age
  4. The History and Future of Plastics (6)-Plastic Problems: Waste and Health
  5. The History and Future of Plastics (3)-The Development of New Plastics