Understanding the Plastic Lifecycle

Understanding the Plastic Lifecycle

August 10, 2017

Plastic – it revolutionized human society in some incredible ways. It has been responsible for many advancements, but it is also deadly to the planet. Understanding this threat to our world requires that you know a bit more about the plastic lifecycle, and where all those plastic bits, like the glitter in your makeup and hairspray, end up at the end.


In the Beginning


Plastic starts out as crude oil. Yes, it’s a petroleum product. However, some are made from coal or even from natural gas. In most cases, this requires extracting it from the ground either through drilling or mining. Obviously, oil, coal and natural gas extraction wreaks havoc on the environment, and we’ve known that for a very long time.

Once it has been extracted, the oil, coal or natural gas is taken to an industrial production facility where it is converted using chemicals into the many types of plastics we use today. In most cases, it is formed into pellets that can be melted and molded into the desired shape, whether that’s a plastic clamshell container for a consumer product, plastic bags for use in grocery stores, the cover for your laptop or tablet, or something else.


The Use Period


Depending on the type of plastic and the product in question, the use life of these objects can be very long or very short. Most long-life products, such as portable coolers and laptop cases, are not as threatening to the planet as throwaway or single-use items simply because we use them for much longer periods, and they’re not produced in the same quantities. For instance, there are far, far more plastic water bottles manufactured each year than laptop covers.


For most of the plastic products we use every day, the trash is the immediate destination. What do you do with your water bottle when you drink the last drop? You throw it out. What do you do with those plastic bags when you get home from the grocery store? You toss them. What about that coffee cup? It goes into the trash, too. Where does that glitter in your makeup go when you’re done for the day? Down the drain.


The End


Well, this section name is a bit misleading. Why? Well, plastics really don’t end. They can last for hundreds, even thousands of years. As they age, they break down into smaller and smaller pieces, but they never go away. Some types of plastics, like glitter and microbeads, don’t even need to break down before they begin causing problems for the environment.


Small pieces of plastic generally end up in a water source, and eventually make their way to the ocean, where they become part of the plastic soup that covers every single ocean on the planet. Here, those bits of glitter, microbeads and tiny pieces of plastic bottles are eaten by marine life, where they cause immense issues, including sterility, and actually move back up the food chain to us.


GoodGlitter.com is committed to making a difference – our bio glitter is 100% biodegradable, unlike normal plastic glitter, and will never be a threat to our oceans or our planet. Get in touch and learn more!