When you ride a bus, plane or train, watch television or use computers, you are using plastics. When you go to your dentist or shop at your local supermarket, it is plastics you are relying on again.

So where do these ubiquitous plastics come from … and just what are they?

Plastics are macromolecules, formed by Polymerization, a process by which individual units of molecules combine together chemically, forming long chain structures (called polymers), having different properties than those of the starting molecules or “mers” and derived from materials found in nature, such as plants, natural gas, coal, minerals and oil.

That’s why many plastics begin with the word “poly”, such as polypropylene, polyethylene and polystyrene. The term “plastics” encompasses all these different polymers.