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Plastics by the Numbers. Recycling plastics, types of plastics, and the sorting of plastics. One Word: Plastics. What comes to your mind when you hear the word plastic? How often do you use plastic water or soda bottles?

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Plastics by the numbers

Plastics by the Numbers

Recycling plastics, types of plastics, and the sorting of plastics

One word plastics
One Word: Plastics

  • What comes to your mind when you hear the word plastic?

  • How often do you use plastic water or soda bottles?


Plastics by the numbers1
Plastics by the Numbers

  • Work in pairs with equipment at work station


    • Acetone is FLAMABLE! Keep away

      from the hot plate

    • Wear safety goggles at ALL times

    • Wear gloves when handling


    • Wash hands after handing acetone

    • Keep distance when boiling water

    • Don’t drink ANYTHING

After the lab
After the Lab

  • After you and your partner have completed the last table in the lab:

    1. Clean up station

    • Dispose of plastic and oil in garbage

    • Dispose of water and acetone in drain

      2. Get started on worksheet until all groups are done

    • (Will be homework if not completed in class)

After lab discussion
After-Lab Discussion

  • Which test did most of you decide to do first? Why?

  • Least amount of steps?

  • How might the properties of these plastics affect their uses or safety?

Diverse properties
Diverse Properties

  • Properties affect the use and safety of each plastic type

    Plastics to avoid:

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

    • considered the most damaging of all plastics

    • releases carcinogenic dioxins into environment when manufactured

  • Polystyrene (PS)

    • can leach styrene, a possible

      human carcinogen

Safer plastics
Safer Plastics!

  • PET, or polyethylene terephthalate

    -considered among the safest plastics

    -but still not safe to use for water bottles!

  • High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

    • Used in some reusable sports bottles,

      but still leak some chemicals!


How are plastics sorted before recycling
How are plastics sorted before recycling?

  • Still no good way other than manually

  • Till the end of the class period, work on a classification key with you partner to give to the workers at the recycling facility that would help them to easily classify unmarked plastics. You can work on it together, but make sure you are doing your own!

  • Keep in mind the characteristics of a good classification key that we talked about earlier!

  • Use the paper provided

  • Will be due, with the worksheet, at the beginning of class on Monday

  • Extra credit: Type a paragraph about a new technique or invention that are currently being implemented to aid in the SORTING of plastics