Plastic – The Material which is Both a Boon & a Curse – 30 Facts

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1Plastic bottles

At least 22 million gallons of water is trapped in plastic bottles and thrown into landfills annually in the US alone.


2. In 1941, Henry Ford made a car from hemp and soybean plastic. It ran on ethanol.


3. The plastic used to make Legos is the same type of plastic used to make hard hats.


4. Peanut butter in a plastic jar at the supermarket usually has a sell-by date of about 18 months after it hits the shelf. Past this date, if it’s unopened it’s still perfectly good. Opened, peanut butter will slowly develop off-flavors of rancid nuts over the next five or so years.


5. In 1992, thousands of plastic yellow ducks broke free from a cargo ship on the Pacific. They floated halfway around the world for years and were used to study ocean currents.


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6Toothpastes

Many toothpastes contain small plastic beads which may lodge in the gums, are likely harmful to the environment, and are included in toothpaste for decorative purposes only.


7. In early 2000s entrepreneur, Ken Belanger sued Microsoft for illegal use of his "Pocket PC" trademark. Ken's "Pocket PC" was a 1985-made plastic coin with 0 and 1 engraved on the front and back sides.


8. Scientists in the Netherlands are developing an ocean cleaning system which uses the ocean's currents and a barrier to remove plastic waste. A 100 km long system will be deployed in 2020 to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.


9. C-4 plastic explosive is so chemically stable that it can be shot, microwaved, or even set on fire without exploding. Soldiers in Vietnam would sometimes use it for cooking fires, and, supposedly, would eat small amounts to fake illness.


10. Plastic-wrapped American cheese slices aren't slices at all and are actually put on the plastic as a warm blob that's flattened into a slice shape as it cools.


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11Plastic dishes

Plastic dishes can't absorb enough heat to evaporate water, which is why the dishwasher dry cycle doesn't work on them.


12. The little plastic thing at the end of data cables is called a Ferrite Bead, and it is used to block interference from radio signals from other electronics.


13. Microbeads used in exfoliating soaps are actually made of plastic (and they are a major pollution problem).


14. Because of the wide use of plastics and polyurethane foam in modern furnishings, house fires today spread 8 times faster than they did 40 years ago.


15. The world's second tallest man, Bao Xishun, used his long arms reaching 1.06m to remove plastic from the stomachs of 2 dolphins, which ultimately saved their lives after trainers tried numerous other methods.


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16Plastic tipped cigars

The Nat Sherman tobacco company introduced plastic tipped cigars to the industry. While the government never granted them a desired patent on the idea, they bluffed away any competitors for 32 years by putting "Patent Pending" on the packaging.


17. In the 1960s Nintendo manufactured a toy called Ultra Hand which was made of crisscrossed plastic elements that enabled its user to pick up objects. It was very successful and helped save Nintendo from serious financial difficulties. Its inventor went on to create the Game Boy.


18. The Beijing subways are allowing travelers to use plastic bottles as a form of payment to encourage recycling.


19. In 2009, the city council of Madison, Wisconsin voted to make the plastic lawn flamingo the city's official bird.


20. In 2008, Rwanda became the first country to ban plastic bags.


21Chewing gum

Chewing gum is primarily made of rubber and plastic.


22. Billiards directly contributed to the invention of plastic since ivory was too expensive for billiard balls.


23. Out of the 9 billion tons of plastic, humans have created throughout history, half of it has been in the past 13 years.


24. The outdoor clothing company 'Patagonia' use plastic bottles to create polyester fleece garments and are a leading manufacturer in transforming trash into fleece, decreasing their dependence on petrol.


25. Many BPA-free plastics contain BPS, a similar chemical that can affect cells the same way. 81% of Americans have BPS in their urine.

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