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What are Plastics? 

Plastics mean mouldable materials. The word "plastic" comes from the Greek word-"plastikos"-which means moudable. There are two groups plastics- thermoplastics and thermosets.

Thermoplastics are like wax- they can be moulded and re-moulded many times under the right temperature. Thermosetting plastics can be moulded by crosslinking or hardening only once under specific conditions.

Today, plastics which can be reused and recycled, have become a sustainable material closely linked to people's lives. From airbag to safety belts, baby chairs, bike helmets, toothbrushes and life jackets, household goods made up of plastics can be seen and bought everywhere. The diversified and convenient plastic packing materials have not only ensured our food safety and health, but also improved people's living quality. Without plastics, the total weight of our packages would be significantly increased, our production and energy costs would be double, and our material consumption will be significantly increased. The application of plastic agricultural water saving devices and agricultural plastic fimls has elevated the water saving rate of the agricultural irrigation in many places. In fact, the plastics industry has become a pillar industry supporting the healthy development of Vietnam's national economy.

The plastics industry is helping us develop more sustainable consumer products that are less environmental impacts.

A Brief History for the Development of Plastics.

Early days of 20th Century

1907- Leo Hendrik Baekeland invented the first man-made synthetic liquid resin- and called it Bakelite. It could be heated and moulded into any shape- but only once. It was used as an electrical insulator ( wires housings).

Nylon was discovered in the 1930s. Nylon was originally called Polyamide 66 and was used to replace animal hair in toothbrushes and later silk stockings.

1939-Nylon stockings were launched and nylon was incorported into military uses- parachutes and tents during the Second World War.

Middle Stage of 20 Century

During 1940s- silicone based plastic and boric acid were mixed together and formed and unusual type of compound. It could bounce 25% more than rubber, could be stretched into many different shapes over and over again. It can be used as Putty and in recent years is also used in Super Balls and Solar Panels.

In 1950s, High Density Polyetheylene(HDPE) was developed and is now used in plastic milk bottles. Polypropylene (PP) was also discovered during this period.

21st century and the Future

Ever since the 1960s, plastics have been more and more widely applied in society. Today, it has become an indispensable material in people's lives. From communications, entertainment, mankind's health, to energy conservation in transportation and the utilization of sunlight, water resources and wind power, plastics are playing a key role in our everyday lives and future well being.

  

 

OUR HEALTH:Nylon is used in heart valves and hearing aids, helping us live longer and healthier

SAFE ENVIRONMENT: New Plastic products help protect floods, fires & hazardous material spills with innovative barriers.

ENTERTAINMENT: Flexibility in modern PVC design has given us MP3 players, PSP and Wii. CDs and DVDs are made out of tough polycarbonate material. The same material is also used in tennis racquets and golf clubs for our leisure activities.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Polycarbonate is used in solar panels and wind turbines, creating energy through the use of 'renewable' resources.

Plastics help harness natural energy sources.

ENERGY EFFICIENT TRANSPORT: Polypropylene and various of engineering plastics are used in cars to reduce weight, thereby cutting fuel consumption and assisting to reduce green house emissions.Plastics are energy efficient.

RELIABLE COMMUNICATIONS: Bakelite gave us our first plastic radio and was later used in telephones. Today, modern plastics allow us to have mobile phones that fit in out pockets, laptops that are slim and lightweight and space satellites that relay information instantaneously to us.

BANKNOTES Polypropylene banknotes last six times longer than old paper notes and contain holograms and other security devices to prevent forgery. They were invented in Australia and adopted by over than 20 countries so far.

                         

 

NOTE: Only a fraction-just 4% of the world's oil is used to make plastic. Plus with plastics being easily reused, and in many cases, recycled, the life of the oild feedstock is extended well beyond its initial use. And compared to fuels used in vehicles and buildings which are only used once( and consume 88% of the world's oil), plastics have a dramatically higher 'multiplier value' on the initial oil consumed.

Plastics and Sustainable Development

As a reusable and recyclable environmentally friendly material which will enhance energy efficiencies, plastics should help us to achieve resource utilization rate, reduce waste, and develop a sustainable and harmonious society. The plastics industry is helping us develop more sustainable consumables of better qualities which will reduce the pressure on natural resources use

Plastics make new energy

Wind turbines: made of polycarbonate material produce a renewable energy source

Solar cells: made from new plastics make solar energy a more affordable and widely used energy source. Those plastics which can not be readily recycled can be used as an alternative fuel source in Engergy from Waste facilities.

Plastics help to save and recycle water

Plastic for water: plastic for water tank construction and water storage can help reduce our reliance on traditional w beater

Plastics make things lighter saving fuel and resources

Modern airplanes and cars: are made from composite materials, making them lighter and safer. They use less fuel, reducing green house.

Plastic for packaging: Without plastics, the weight of packaging would increase, production costs and energy consumption and waste volumn would increase accordingly.

Plastics can be made from different materials: Corn, sugarcane and wheat can be used as starting materials for plastics, which will reduce our reliance on nonrenewable resources.

Tech Tips

 Do you know the meaning of following symbols? Thermoplastics are recyclable and reusable 

 PET- Polyethylene Terephthalate is used in drinking bottles, food packaging, clothing and carpets. 

 

        P lastics make our lifestyles so much easier.

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HDPE- High Density Polyethylene containers are made to carry our milk safely and also made for water and natural gas pipeline

       Plastics help bring water to our cities and our regional centers. 

 

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PVC- Polyvinyl chloride is used widely in tube and water hose, electrical cable, blood bags and mouth guards. It is also used in toys.

        Plastics help make healthcare products safer and more hygienic.

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LDPE- Low Density Polyethylene is used to make films.

        Plastics can be used to pack foods to keep fresh during transportation and storage.

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PP- Polypropylene is used in our cars- making them lighter by using less fuel. It makes our plastic banknotes more secure and last longer.

        Plastics help us save resources for our future.

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PS- Polystyrene is commonly used in packaging such as meat & vegetable trays, yoghurt tubs, TV, Audio and circuit boards.

         Plastics help us protect us while saving energy in our homes .

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          LLDPE- Linear Low Density Polyethylene is used to make membranes.

 

         Plastics may be used to pack foods for the purposes of transportation and keeping fresh.

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OTHER- Other plastics not included in the above codes. 

        Plastics are helping to save and harness renewable resources for our future.

 

Plastics help us to reduce the consumption of resources and energy, and can faciliate the re-use and recovery of resources and energy.