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Unwrapping the Plastic Problem: A Journey Towards Sustainable Living

Plastics 101: A Brief Dive into the World of Polymers

Plastics, at their core, are polymers—long chains of carbon-based molecules that exhibit unique properties based on their structure. Understanding plastics involves distinguishing between thermosetting plastics, known for their rigidity, and thermoplastics, which are more malleable. It's fascinating to note that humanity has been utilising polymers for centuries, from animal horn lantern windows in medieval times to rubber balls crafted by the Olmecs in ancient Mexico.

Fast forward to the mid-19th century, where American inventor John Wesley Hyatt introduced Celluloid, the first semi-synthetic plastic. This innovation revolutionised manufacturing, freeing it from dependence on scarce natural resources. Plastics became an integral part of our lives during World War II, replacing materials in parachutes, ropes, and aircraft components.

However, the very quality that makes plastics durable—its ability to persist for hundreds or even thousands of years—poses a significant environmental challenge.

The Plastic Plague: Facing the Consequences of Our Dependency

Over 6 billion tonnes of plastic waste have been produced to date, and if this trend persists, we could see a staggering 12 billion tonnes of plastic waste by 2050—equivalent to about a billion double-decker buses. The impact on our oceans is particularly alarming, with an estimated 10 million tonnes of plastic ending up in the sea annually.

From heart-wrenching images of marine life entangled in plastic debris to the subtler threat of microplastics infiltrating our food chain, the consequences of plastic pollution are far-reaching. One-third of fish caught for human consumption contains plastic, contributing to the growing concern about the health implications of ingesting these microplastics and the toxic chemicals they may carry.

Looking Ahead: Goldrick and the Plastic-Free Journey

Plastic isn't just a problem; it's a crisis that demands our attention and action. The Goldrick blog is here to inspire positive change. In the coming posts, I'll delve deeper into the science behind plastic toxicity and its impact on our health.

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