'Why Plastic ...' (FAQ Guide)

‘Why Plastic …’ (FAQ Guide)

This is a short FAQ guide answering some of the most common questions that include ‘Why Plastic … X ‘


Why Was Plastic Invented?

There should be a distinction between the first synthetic polymer that was invented, and the first fully synthetic plastic that was invented:

  • The first synthetic polymer was invented in 1869 by John Wesley Hyatt, who was inspired by a New York firm’s offer of $10,000 for anyone who could provide a substitute for ivory
  • In 1907 Leo Baekeland invented Bakelite … [in part] to meet the needs of the rapidly electrifying United States

– sciencehistory.org


Why Is Plastic Bad/Why Is It Harmful/Why Say No To Plastic

Read about some of the potentially harmful effects of plastic in this guide:


Why Plastic Pollution Is A Problem

Plastic pollution causes several potential issues on land in the ocean. Read more in these guides:

Also note, a more indirect form of plastic pollution might occur from the burning of plastic waste – where air pollution could occur (from dioxins and other air or atmosphere contaminants), and incinerator ash could cause pollution if not treated or recycled or disposed of properly.


Why Is Plastic In The Ocean

Because there are both land based, and ocean based plastic sources responsible for putting plastic into the ocean.

Plastic from the ocean mainly ends up there from coastal populations within 50kms of the coast line, and rivers are a significant way that plastic from inland gets carried out to coastal populations (ourworldindata.org)

Marine based plastic sources mainly come from fishing vessels (fishing gear, fishing equipment, dumped gear and and equipment like pots).


Why Plastic Bags Should Or Should Not Be Banned

Read more in this guide:


Why Plastic Straws Should Or Should Not Be Banned

Read more in this guide:


Why Plastic Bottles Should Or Should Not Be Banned

Unlike plastic straws and plastic bags, plastic bottles tend to be hard plastic, and can generally be recycled, so there tends to be a weaker push to have plastic bottles banned (amongst other reasons such as plastic bottles being a more necessary plastic item).



1. https://www.sciencehistory.org/the-history-and-future-of-plastics

2. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/potentially-harmful-effects-of-plastic-on-the-environment-wildlife-humans-health-the-economy/

3. Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2019) – “Plastic Pollution”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org.Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution’ [Online Resource]

4. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/should-we-ban-plastic-straws-potential-impact-of-plastic-straws-a-comparison-to-plastic-straw-alternatives/

5. https://www.bettermeetsreality.com/should-we-ban-plastic-bags-are-they-better-or-worse-than-other-types-of-bags/

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