The word plastic is derived from
the Greek (plastikos) meaning capable
of being shaped or moulded,
from (plastos) meaning moulded. It
refers to their malleability, or
plasticity during manufacture, that
allows them to be cast, pressed,
or extruded into a variety of shapes —
such as films, fibres, plates, tubes,
bottles, boxes, and much more.
Plastic are materials formed by
long chains of carbon and
hydrogen called polymers,
formed by units called
monomers. The most important
characteristic of plastic is the
capacity of deformation.
Most of the plastics are made up from
these three raw materials:
•Non – Renewable
•Non – Renewable
•Non – Renewable
Plastics are made from fossil fuels.
Fossil fuels contains hydrocarbons, which
provide small building blocks called monomer.
These hydrocarbons monomers are link
together to form long carbon chains called
The process of forming long molecules is
The polymerization form viscous, sticky
substances known as resins, which are used
to make plastic products.
These joined molecules form a plastic resin
known as polythene.
Plastics are strong , light weight, flexible and
Plastics can be easily moulded into a variety
of shapes and sizes.
Plastics have excellent mechanical strength
(tensile properties, tear resistance, and
Plastics are relatively cheaper than compared
to metals like steel, tin etc.
Plastics are reusable and recyclable.
Plastics have long use age life.
Plastics are good electricity and
Plastics do not corrode or decay.
Plastics are cheap and dispensable.
Plastics are resistant to chemicals,
water or grease.
Annual increase of
Production = 9%
Plastics in municipal
solid waste = 11.8%
Groups of Plastic
softened by heating
and hardened by
being heated once.
Percentage of Plastic used in different fields
80% of thermoplastics, and 20% of
thermo set plastic wastes are
generated in India.
The use of plastics in India is 3kg per
person per year.
The total consumption of plastic in
India is about 4 million tonnes and the
waste generated is about 2 million
About 20% of solid municipal wastes
are plastics in India.
Plastic pollution on land is both physical and
Plastic reduces soil fertility by forming the part
of manure for years.
Plastic spoil environmental aesthetics and
Plastics in soil can lessen the growth of plants
and trees by blocking the absorption of minerals,
water and other nutrients.
Disposing of plastic waste is trickier than
dealing with other traditional landfill
material. Not only does plastic take
thousands of years to break down, it can
leach dangerous poison into the
environment. Plastic is not going away, but
how plastic waste is managed is becoming
more sophisticated. Managing plastic
waste starts at home with the consumer,
but ultimately depends on governments
around the world as well.
Use of plastics
distribution End of life
Industries emit large amounts of carbon
monoxide, dioxin and hydrogen cyanide.
These gaseous pollutants contaminate air
and causes respiratory diseases, nervous
system disorders and immune suppression
in human beings.
Plastics wastes dumped in water courses
contaminate and poisons freshwater life.
On leaching in water, plastic can easily enter
the human food chain and harm human health.
Plastic debrises clog the sewage drains and
create stagnant water which will be an ideal
habitat for mosquitoes and other parasites.
Chocked drains cause flooding during
Discarded Plastic usually ends up within marine
sources. The Pacific Ocean has one of the largest
dumping ground for plastics, unknown numbers of sea
birds marine mammals and fish ingest plastics which
causes a variety of negative health effects and
leading to their deaths.
Effects of plastics on marine life includes
entanglement and ingestion of plastics debris by
Plastic is mistaken for food and is eaten up by birds,
turtles, seals, and whales. This may choke them, or
impede digestion and causing starvation.
Toxic chemicals contained in plastics cause
neurological problems, cancer, birth defects,
hormonal changes gastric ulcer, thyroid
problems and cardiovascular disease.
The endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in
plastics have been contributing to obesity
The plastic bottles may leach cancer –
causing chemicals such as phthalates (a
component makes plastic pliable) and Bis –
phenol A ( a component harden plastic).
o Plastic is one of the few new chemical
materials which pose environmental
o Plastic in the environment is regarded
to be more an aesthetic nuisance than
a hazard, since the material is
biologically quite inert.
o Plastic is cheap, it gets discarded
easily, and, its persistence in the
environment can do great harm.
Methods to convert waste plastics into
hydrocarbon fuel have been in development for
decades. But the associated costs to
commercialize the technologies were
prohibitive in previous years when crude oil was
As costs for crude oil have risen, concerns
about energy security and the environment are
renewing efforts in plastics-to fuel recycling
processes. Scientists hope the technologies
will soon provide the nation with cheaper,
alternative fuels that can help reduce foreign
Plastic recycling is the process
of recovering scrap or waste plastic and
reprocessing the material into useful
products, sometimes completely different in
form from their original state. For instance,
this could mean melting down soft
drink bottles and then casting them as
plastic chairs and tables. Typically a plastic is
not recycled into the same type of plastic,
and products made from recycled plastics
are often not recyclable.
Bioplastics are a form of plastics derived from
renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats
and oils , corn starch or micro biota .Common
plastics, such as fossil-fuel plastics, are derived
from petroleum. These plastics rely more on scarce
fossil fuels and produce more greenhouse gas. Some,
but not all, bioplastics are designed to biodegrade.
Bioplastics which are designed to biodegrade can
break down in either anaerobic or aerobic
environments, depending on how they are
manufactured. There is a variety of bioplastics being
made; they can be composed of starches, cellulose,
or other biopolymers. Some common applications of
bioplastics are packaging materials, dining utensils,
food packaging, and insulation.
Plasma pyrolysis or plasma gasification is a
waste treatment technology that gasifies
matter in an oxygen-starved environment
to decompose waste material into its basic
molecular structure. It uses high
electrical energy and high temperature
created by an electrical arc gasifies and
does not combust the waste as
incinerators do. This arc breaks down
waste primarily into elemental gas and
solid waste (slag), in a device called a
carry bags at
- Can be a
Lead by example
Ask your friends and family to join you
Speak to city council
Write letters to government officials
Get your school involved.
Plastic Waste Management has assumed great
significance in view of the urbanisation
Various strategies are being devised to
mitigate the impact of plastic waste in India.
Some significant challenges still exist from
both technological factors and from economic
or social behaviour issues relating to the
collection of recyclable wastes, and
substitution for virgin material.
Mahatma Gandhi –
“You must be the change if you wish to see
in the world”.
Time for a new ethic :
Save yourself and you save the environment.