The term “plastics” is used for a wide variety of synthetic compounds built up from long chains of carbon with different compounds hanging off as side chains. The long chains give them the ability to bend, and the side chains mean they have many different properties that have made them popular in manufacturing. There are many overlapping environmental concern about plastics:
- Many plastics persist for long periods of time in a wide variety of conditions. Some can entrap wildlife, especially marine animals.
- Many plastics degrade into various toxic compounds.
- Plastics are often difficult to reuse or recycle.