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Can Polymers Be Adapted to Be More Eco-Friendly?

As industries and the world in general slowly begin to recover after the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, a new appreciation for nature and the environment has emerged, with studies showing significantly more American citizens are donating to environmentally-friendly charities and projects throughout the country.

Polymers are a fundamental element to the modern world and are found in everything from plastic water bottles to the keratin in nails and hair. In an ideal world, polymers would be adapted to become more eco-friendly.

But is this feasible?

Eco-Friendly Polymers in Everyday Life

Polymers are extensively found in nature as well as the human body, with proteins being the basic type of natural polymers, including collagen, latex, cellulose, and starch. Other proteins are also examples of natural polymers, such as proteins, wool, silk, and natural rubber and tree lacquer. DNA is also a polymer, made from four different monomers called nucleotides, bound together by polymerization, a complex molecule that contains generic information.

Synthetic polymers are human-made polymers and can be broadly classified into four different categories – rayon, nylon, polyester, and acrylic- and are undeniably an important part of the modern world. Synthetic polymers essentially make everyday life considerably easier and more convenient in a plethora of different ways; however, if proper care is not taken, excessive usage can result in substantial environmental degradation.

Is Eco-Friendly the Same Thing as Sustainable?

Eco-friendly fundamentally refers to anything that does not harm the planet, whereas sustainable represents the wide range of products, issues, and activities that, according to the United Nations, do not compromise the ability of future generations.

Future Aspirations for Eco-Friendly Polymers

Professional, experienced, and established experts in the field of monomer and polymer development and manufacturing, such as,are constantly striving to produce brand new and innovative polymers that are more environmentally friendly.

There are undeniably, however, copious benefits of polymer plastics in society. Companies such as these are dedicating significant time, resources, and manpower to produce polymer materials that still provide these advantages without destroying the natural world.

One of the biggest advantages of polymer plastics is the versatility of the material, as well as the relatively low production costs and the relative ease of manufacture. They are used to build the very infrastructure of commercial buildings and private homes as well as road structures and bridges, as such materials are durable, highly sustainable, and incredibly long-lasting. Plastic polymers are also used in the automotive industry and assist with fuel efficiency, product performance, and increasing the level of user safety, as well as being suitably lightweight enough for use in electronics.

Recyclable Polymers

The typical branch method of recycling, such as incineration, requires the burning of polymers which releases harmful compounds such as carbon dioxide and soot that negatively affect the environment and, as a result,contribute to global warming. When polymers can no longer be recycled, they are placed in landfills which negatively affects the surrounding environment in an extremely harmful way.

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