Thursday, February 18, 2010

Compostable Plastics Have a Sweet Ending

This article titled, Compostable Plastics Have a Sweet Ending, discussed many topics that are important to chemistry and our concern for our environment.

First you should read the article and then, you should identify one aspect that you found interesting and write a paragraph describing that

Next find a link that shows one of the topics following and link to the article and then write a paragraph that summarizes the article. Paragraphs should be at least three well constructed sentences.
1. Where plastics come from.
2. Alternatives to plastics.
3. How materials science effects food production.
4. Any topic related to chemical "green" technology.

Make sure you put your ID and class section on your work. This project is due by midnight Sunday, 2/28. Remember that if you have not done the previous project you need to do this one for credit. You have until 2/21 to complete the previous project. If you do both projects one will count for extra credit.

Want to improve your work? Read the guidelines for effective work and remember that spelling counts. Please do your project in a word processor and then cut and paste it into the comment box. Sloppy work really doesn't save you time, and it there are glaring spelling errors you will lose credit.

If you have problems, email me at aphsbio at Make sure that you tell me what your problem was, and you can include your completed project.


  1. I found this article about plastics being made out of sugar to be fascinating. This new polymer made from a non food crop is environmentally safe and biodegradable. The polymer has a large number of applications of which it could be used. The polymer could be used in tissue regeneration, as stitches and a new way to deliver drugs to the human body. The polymer also is not poisonous to human cells so it would be practical in use of all of these fields.

    A Whole Lot About Plastics

    On this site I found a ton of information about plastics, how they are made, and the applications for them. Most plastics do not occur naturally and are made through the process of synthesis. These manmade plastics are manufactured from a refined product of crude oil called naphtha. In nature plastics are found in animals horns, turtle shells and in amber which were used in early production of glass.


  2. One thing that I think is really cool in this article is that plastic may now be able to decompose. The new polymer inside of plastic makes it easier for it to decompose. They are especially going to use these polymers in food products because you only use food packaging once.

    Click Here

    This article is about how there are now bioplastics and biofibers to use. They are not oil based polymers so they are easier to degrade. They say that the switch to these bio plastics from plastic will be an easy switch for 90 percent of all plastics.


  3. I found it interesting that the new polymer is made from sugars and is not from food crops. The sugars come from fast growing trees and grasses as well as biomass from food wastes. The new sugars can absorb water and degrade into harmless products. The products can even be used to feed the plants in your garden. It can even be used for specialised medical needs like tissue regeneration and stitches.

    Plastic Bags

    This article explains how the use of plastic bags like the ones in the grocery store affect the environment. Each year the world uses 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags. Out of all this plastic only a small amount of it is actually recycled. Most of the plastic ends up in the environment and kills thousands of birds and fish among other things. People need to start using alternative bags like cloth.If you can't get different bags you should re-use the plastic bags.

    Jimmy Sullivan block 3

  4. One aspect of the article that I found to be interesting was that plastic items could soon be composted along with organic waste., a new polymer could make this happen. This polymer will be made from non-food crops which will make the plastic biodegradable. I think its interesting and exciting that this plastic will be benefiting the environment and will be helping the economy. Also in the article it talks about how the oxygen-rich sugars in the new polymer will allow it to obtain water and make it a harmless product. This means that we will be able to put the plastic anywhere. The polymer is made from cheap materials having a positive affect on the economy.

    Where do plastics come from?

    In this article I found where plastics come from. Plastics do not exist in a natural state but it is produced by synthesis. Mostly plastics are created from oils the article states that 99% of plastics used around the world are made from oils. The article goes through the process of how plastic is created. Basically plastics are made from synthesis and oils but natural polymers exist such as cellulose made by plants, a polymer of glucose which is sugar. Making plastic from natural polymers can help environmentally and economically.

    Philip Diegel Block 3

  5. This is amazing that scientists have found a biodegradable food substance that will impact the term “greener earth” on many levels. We are now able to use a type of polymer made from sugars called lignocellulosic biomass, which can be made into a packaging material for goods and other products. It was developed in Imperial College London by a team of engineering and physical scientist’s research council which were led by Dr. Charlotte Williams. This will help save enormous amounts of plastic from being formed and thrown in the landfills for an eternity.

    what are plastics made of?

    Plastics before made of synthetic were made of the derived substance from certain trees and the substance was called gutta percha. They were also made from shellac which secretes from the tiny scales of an insect. They used the horns of animals in the production process in which they would boil all the materials in water or alkaline metals until they were softened. They no longer use this method and moved on to synthetic plastic which are from cellulose.