• Question: what is plastic made from?

    Asked by leigha1234 to Angela, Gabriele, Karen, Shane on 20 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Gabriele De Chiara

      Gabriele De Chiara answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Plastic is a usually synthetic material, it means that cannot be found in nature. Normally plastic is made of long organic molecules, organic meaning full of carbon and hydrogen atoms. It is these long molecules, imagine a spaghetti like molecule, that gives the plasticity, that is the capability of plastics to be moulded. The problem with most common plastic materials is that they are not biodegradable. However new plastics made of corn or other vegetables, are perfectly degradable and do not pollute. Go green!

    • Photo: Angela Stevenson

      Angela Stevenson answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Hi Leigha, great question! it’s important since plastics have really revolutionized our world 🙂 Plastics are made from oil and oil is a carbon rich material. Plastics contain large molecules of carbon, called polymers, that are stuck together. Chemists combine various types of monomers (these are the groups of carbon that form polymers) in many different arrangements to make an almost infinite variety of plastics like toys, cups, bottles, utensils, wiring, cars, even in bubble gum! hope that helps 🙂