What is Plastic?

Plastic is a type of polymer. Polymers are certain materials that have atoms that are bonded together in a link pattern. Atoms are the tiny building blocks of all elements. When atoms bond together, like in polymers, they form molecules! Plastic is made when the oil is refined or cleaned up. Then, the oil goes into a special machine that develops the polymer structure. Then, the thick mixture is melted and cooled. That makes the plastic hard. Then, the long strips of plastic are cut up into pellets. Those pellets are shipped off to manufacturers so that they can use them.

What are Microplastics?

Microplastics are pieces of plastic that are broken down into very small pieces. You need a magnifying glass or a microscope to even see them! Since plastic is very hard to decompose, they only break into smaller pieces instead of becoming part of the Earth again. Plastic can be broken down by waves in the ocean, rain, or the Sun. The microplastics usually end up in our oceans and pollute the environment. This means that if fish or other sea creatures eat the plastic, the plastic could somehow make it’s way into a human’s body. This is why scientists are working on a mass ocean cleaning project to help clean these microplastics.

Spectacular Science is on YouTube!