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Beethoven Oberschule Berlin

Grade, Teacher, Year

2, Nording, 3.Semester

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Text by Sophie J. ©
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  1. Introduction:
    -What is plastic? (When was plastic invented?)
    -Could you imagine life without plastic?
    -Plastic facts

  2. Bioplastic:
    -lies about our bioplastic today, difference plastic types
    -Difference to conventional plastic (how both decompose, what is it made of, how it is made, qualities)
    -maybe disadvantages and advantages
    -What is it good for? (Pictures

  3. Conclusion:

    Like still not as good as normal plastic, but needs less time to decompose
    -environment, cheap, no crude oil needed, more safety for animals

1. Introduction:
My topic plastic or bioplastic is really complex. We have so many different types of plastic, which makes it also difficult to recycle.

Recyclable plastic and non-recyclable plastic, fossil-based plastic which is made of crude oil or petroleum, bioplastic based of something renewable like maize or potatoes. We have biobased bioplastic and bio-degradable bioplastic. Additionally, bio-based bioplastic is allowed to have the same additives (smth. you add to make it softener, heat/cold resistant, break proof) like plasticizer or softener just as conventional plastic.
So, as I already told you my topic is kind of complicated but I will explain it to you.

And I will start with our plastic today.
What is plastic: So, what is plastic? Plastic is a chemically manufactured substance that can be moulded (new shape) when it is still soft. Plastics also called synthetis are organic, polymer solid bodies. Organic because the materials used in the production of plastic are natural products such as cellulose (basis of cell walls) and crude (raw/natural) oil.

The crude oil is a complex mixture of thousands of compounds. To become useful, it must be processed (e.g. in a distillation process where the heavy crude oil gets separated into lighter groups called fractions. The oil is heated and converted to a gas, which enters a tall column. As the gas cools, the different fractions, which have different boiling temperatures, condense back into separate liquids.

Each fraction is a mixture of hydrocarbon chains (chemical compounds made up of carbon and hydrogen), which differ in terms of the size and structure of their molecules. One of these fractions, naptha, is the crucial element for the production of plastics.
Cracking: A thermical splitting process, called cracking (chemical process by which a chemical compound, usually organic, is broken down or cracked into simpler compounds) breaks the naphta down into smaller hydrocarbon molecules, such as ethylene and propylene.
The two major processes used to produce plastics are called polymerisation and polycondensation, and they both require specific catalysts.

In a polymerisation reactor, monomers like ethylene and propylene are linked together to form long polymers chains. Each polymer has its own properties, structure and size depending on the various types of basic monomers ( ethylene or propylene,molecules which are able to react to a polymer) used.
(Many polymers, such as nylon, are artificial. Proteins and DNA are natural polymers or biopolymers.)
There are many different types of plastics, and they can be grouped into two main polymer families:

  • Thermoplastics (which soften on heating and then harden again on cooling)

    Polyethylene – PE; Polyethylene terephthalate – PET; Polypropylene - PP

  • Thermosets (which never soften when they have been moulded)
    e.g. Epoxide (EP, sport equipments, boats, car parts, shoe soles, toys)

Could you imagine a life without plastic?

Plastic facts:

  • Plastic belongs to our life: At the premiere of ‘Plastic planet’ they took blood from 40 visitors and found was plastic in it.

  • More than 100 million tonnes of plastic are produced yearly for products which are used less than five minutes.

  • 64 plastic bags wasted every German in 2014. In Poland about 466 and in Denmark 4.

  • In stomachs of perished sea birds researchers often find dozens bigger plastic parts.

  • Every tenth grain of sand on British beaches is probably a really small washed plastic.

  • 35% of the fish examined in a study contained plastic pieces - on average every two pieces - which are resumed by the person with the food.
    But there’s hope: !!!

  • Since 2008 polyethene bags are illegal in Ruanda and in Bangladesh since 2002.
    Another solution:

  • The US-American ketchup manufacturer Heinz investigates the use of tomato fibres(ballaststoffe) which result with the production of ketchup as rubbish, to the production of the lasting bio-plastic with which one can produce cable fixtures and depositions in the interior of vehicles.

The reason why I chose this topic was of course our environment.

And I told you that we already have bioplastic. So, maybe you are now asking yourself, when bioplastic already exists and is used, where is the new invention or where is the reference to our topic the science future /futuristic inventions you had?
I’ll explain you why. It is said, that bioplastic is, like I already told you, made of plants like corn/maize or potatoes.

Synthetics are also bioplastic when it is made of crude oil and bio-degradable but it is allowed to have additives like we have in our conventional plastic, e.g. plasticizer or softener or others . (heat/cold resistant, broke proof)
Not really healthier than normal plastic
My next point is the bio-based plastic which is just made of renewable raw materials.

The manufacturer e.g. of PET-bottles use instead of fossile materials (oil) the maize or potatoes but the plastic needs the same time as the conventional plastic to degrade. not helpful for the plastic in our ocean but don’t need oil anymore
Diagram of different plastic types : Biobased and bio-degradable Bioplastic comes really close to the

Finally: The brand-new bioplastic:
The brand new bioplastic is biobased, bio-degradable and is made of a material which is an organic waste material, that means it is made from smth. organic we throw away everyday and it is cheap.

To make plastic out of potatoes they would need a lot of potatoes. Important here is the potato starch but someone found out that we can also use the starch banana peels have. The banana starch and also the potato starch is a polymer. I already told you that Polymers are large chains of molecules just like plastic has. There is pectin(fibres, ballaststoffe) in the banana/potato starch which can be broken with vinegar because vinegar is acidic.

And when you add glycerine(sugar alcohol, found in natural fat and you can make the plastic more flexible and soft. The idea to use banana peels instead of potatoes had a young 16yo girl named Elif Bilgin from Istanbul, Turkey. With a little help from her older sister who is an Biology student she worked for 2 years developing her project. Video

What is it good for? Discussion/Pictures

Now I explained to you how plastic is made, what bioplastic is and how different it is.
. not fully developed yet

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