For something we come into contact with everyday most people don’t know much about plastic. In this two-part post we’ll empower you with 10 things we bet you didn’t know about plastic.

Plastic is actually really old

The roots of plastic materials actually date back to the 1600s, when synthetic materials were made from bio-derived items such as eggs and blood protein. The first man-made plastic came over 200 years later, when Alexander Parkes developed parkesine, a material made from cellulose and treated with nitric acid. The first fully synthetic plastic, bakelite, was developed in 1907 New York. Scientists have developed a wide array of plastics with many special properties in only 100 years.

There are organisms that can live off of plastic

A species of fungus has been discovered in the Amazon which feeds on plastic and can do so without oxygen. While this might not seem like a big deal, researchers are currently studying the fungus – and plastic – to see if advances can be made in bio-remediation technology.

Self-healing plastic is a thing

Scientists are continually making improvements to plastics. One cool example of this is the self-healing plastic, dubbed “the Terminator.” In 2013 scientists developed the first self-healing polymer that spontaneously and independently repairs itself without any intervention.

We use more plastic today than ever before

It goes without saying that plastic is one of the most widely used materials in product development. In fact, thanks to continuous research and development, it’s estimated that we use about 20 times more plastic today and we did 50 years ago.

Recycling efforts are evolving

As plastic has become more popular, so have the various recycling methods.  These efforts are important, as most plastics take a long time to decompose. In fact, it’s estimated that energy saved from recycling one plastic bottle is enough to power a 100-watt light bulb for an hour. According to the America Environmental Protection Agency, recycling one ton of plastic is good enough to conserve 3.8 barrels of crude oil.

Lookout for part 2 of our post where we look at 5 more weird and wonderful facts you didn’t know about plastic.

Source: Craftech Industries