- Name five things that are made out of plastic.
- Why do you think plastic is used to make so many different kinds of products?
- How is plastic different from other materials, such as wood or metal?
- Describe polymers.
- Does the presence of polymers make plastic strong or weak?
- Is plastic’s strength a good thing, a bad thing, or both? Explain.
- Name the type of chemical that gives plastic its flexibility.
- Name one form of this chemical that is widely used, despite having been linked with serious health problems.
- Do plastics occur naturally, or are they manufactured? Name two basic ingredients of plastic. (Hint: think of nonrenewable energy sources.)
- Globally, do you think there are thousands, millions or billions of tons of plastic?
- List three benefits of substituting plant material for oil and gas in the production of plastics.
- Name one advantage of oil-based polymers over plant-based polymers.
- At least for now, not all oil-based polymers can be replaced with plant-based polymers. Explain one way that scientists are working to help decompose oil-based polymers.
- Why do you think phthalates are widely used, even though they have been linked with cancer and birth defects?
- Can you think of other nonrenewable products that perhaps could be replaced with renewable materials or methods? (Hint: Think about the different sources of energy.)
1. List four ways that you can reduce your use of plastics.