What is plastic?

Hard plastic is used to make a firefighter's helmet. Getty Images

Hard plastic is used to make a firefighter's helmet. Getty Images

Plastic is made in factories using chemicals found in oil and natural gas. It can be coloured by adding dyes. Hot plastic can be poured into moulds in the shapes of toys and other things. It can also be squeezed through holes to make pipes and hoses and bags.

It can be hard and used to make things such as casings for television sets, garden pots, and even furniture.

It is strong but it isn't heavy. It is very light. Because it is so light, many parts of aeroplanes and cars are made from plastic. This means it takes less energy to move these machines and so they use less energy.

It can be soft and used to make things such as soft toys, balls umbrellas, and paddling pools.

Plastic can be used to make bottles of all shapes and sizes. © Getty Images

Plastic can be used to make bottles of all shapes and sizes. © Getty Images

It can be made into thin threads and then woven to make material that is used to make clothing such as rain coats and waterproof jackets. These plastic materials are called synthetic (say: sin-thet-ick) materials.

Read about the properties of plastic and other materials on kidcyber

Did you know?

Nylon was invented in 1935 by a scientist working for an American Company called Du Pont. Nylon was used to make toothbrushes, womens' stockings and parachutes. Now it is used to make carpets.

Recycled plastic can be made into new plastic. Getty Image

Recycled plastic can be made into new plastic. Getty Image

Plastic and the environment

Old plastic can be recycled. Once it is cleaned it can be used to make new bottles and bags. It doesn't rot and can't be burned safely. (Burning plastic gives off dangerous gases) So it is hard to get rid of it. Plastic rubbish takes up a lot of space in garbage dumps. To help our environment we need to use it carefully and save it whenever we can. 

Reuse and recycle

Reuse plastic bags, carry lunch in a reusable lunch box, and put plastic objects into a recycle bin so it can be melted and made into new things.

 Read how some kids recycled plastic to make a greenhouse

http://inhabitat.com/uk-school-children-build-a-greenhouse-out-of-recycled-plastic-bottles/