Class 16: Sustainability in Plastics
What material was early plastic made of?
- Parkesine, first plastic 1850's made of plant cellulose, synthetic ivory
- Celluloid, first man-made thermoplastic
When did petroleum-based plastics appear?
20th Century development of Petroleum based plastics
What are the names of two safer plastics, and two dangerous plastics; in what products
are they found?
#2 HDPE high density polyethylene
- milk water, juice bottles, yogurt, and margarine tubs, cereal box liners, grocery, trash
and retail bags.
- GOOD: not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected of causing cancer or
#4 LDPE Low Density Polyethylene
- in some bread, frozen food bags and squeezable bottles
- Ok: not known to leach any chemicals that are suspected in causing cancer or
#3 PVC Polyvinyl chloride
- cling wrapped meats. cheeses and other food sold in groceries. PVC pipes.
- BAD: to soften manufactures add plasticizers during production and these chemicals
can leach out of PVC when in contact with food.
#6 PS Polystyrene
-foam insulation and also for hard applications
- BAD: benzene material used in production is a known human carcinogen.
What is (Bisphenol A (BPA)? Where is it found? What health problems does it cause?
- found in #7 plastics: polycarbonates, toys pacifiers, baby bottles, canned food, water
- health problems: breast cancer, prostate disease and cancer, impaired immune
function, brain damage, diabetes and obesity, early puberty.
What are POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants? Name two of them; What problems do they
cause in the ocean’s food chain
POP's: Persistent Organic pollutants - organic compounds that are resistant to
- DDT and Polychlorinated biophenyls PCB's are both toxic chemicals
Plastic pollution causes death to terrestrial, terrestrial aquatic and aquatic animals because they digest these plastics or get tangled in them.
Where are the 5 ocean gyres, and what are they?
Ocean Gyre is a large system of rotating ocean currents where plastic and trash
- North Pacific Gyre
- South Pacific Gyre
- North atlantic Gyre
- South Atlantic Gyre
- South Indian Gyre
What substances are bioplastics made of? Be able to give 3 examples.
BioPlastics - alternative to petroleum-based plastics
- biomass: corn PLA, soybeans, agricultural residues.
- chitin: from arthropods, cephalopods, fungi (yeast)
- Starch and limestone composites
- poultry feathers made into plastic mulch
* What are the pros and cons of bioplastics? PLA (polylactic acid) from corn?
What is the ‘Blest’ machine invented by Akinori Ito and why is it important?
- invented a small machine that can convert several types of plastics back into oil.
- Making trash valuable. Renewing resources.
*Goal-based design: creative repurposing of post-consumer plastics
Class 17: Sustainability in Textiles and Fashion
*What effects do trade secrets (proprietary information) have on efforts to increase the eco-
effectiveness of textiles?
Lack of transparency: many trade secrets that consumers can't make informed choices.
What are the environmental impacts of textiles? Cotton? (% pesticides & herbicides used
- water intensive
cotton: 10% of pesticides and 23% of herbicides world wide
*During what stage of a textile’s life cycle is its highest embodied energy?
1. Raw Materials
3. Good movement 4. Consumer care
What are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)?
- emitted gas from certain solids and liquids that evaporate or vaporize and become part
of the Earth's Atmosphere
- making cotton is the highest crop contributor to VOC emissions in the state.
- common VOC: methane
- other sources are found in furniture, carpets, dry cleaning chemicals and pesticides.
What is the most widely used synthetic fiber? How safe and sustainable is it?
- 70% of synthetic fiber production is polyester (mostly PET)
- Antimony (a carcinogen) is used to create PET (not safe)
What is the problem with sandblasting jeans?
XinTang jean capital of the world: river has turned black from the dye released by denim
sandblasted jeans are deadly
- silica rich sand inhaled into lungs cause "silicosis", a debilitating, deadly lung disease.
- high levels of five heavy metals found in water in XinTang
- metals are neurotoxins, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors
What are the impacts of developed countries exporting their used clothing to
- disposal of clothing from developed countries to developing countries
- in Africa 60-70% is imported used clothing
- local tailors revenues have declined by 30% in the last decade due to used imported
clothing and new imported chinese clothing.
Alternative Fibers pros and cons
Organic Cotton - wide range of colors, grown without chemicals and 20%-40% less than
chemically dyed cotton.
Tencel - made from cellulose in wood pulp, minimal impact to envirmoent, free of
chlorine, comfortable, rich in color.
Hemp - can be grown with only half the chemicals herbicides or pesticides needed for
FLAX - oldest fiber crop in the world
Define ‘post-industrial’, ‘pre-consumer’ and ‘post-consumer’ materials
Post industrial - material that are second quality goods that do not meet factory standards
but are acceptable for fiber uses; collected after manufacture (never used by consumers)
Pre-consumer - similar to Post-industrial but are simply waste materials left over form
pattern cutting; not second quality Post-consumer - materials that have been used by consumers and then recycled into new
-What is ‘pre-produced material sourcing’, and why is it important?
Industry jargon for reuse of post consumer textile waste
Preserves post-industrial material (factory cutoffs)
reuse post-consumer waste
*What is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)? Know 2 GOTS standards
-What are the hazards of conventional dyes?
- acid and basic dyes, many are toxic / carcinogenic.
- azioc dyes: 60% to 70% of world dye stuff market, carcinogenic compounds.
- Benzidine dyes: can cause bladder cancer
- dyes in fabrics can potentially be absorbed through the skin.
Know two alternative, eco-friendly dye processes
Digital printing - reduced water usage by 90%, reduced energy by 75%
Air Dye Process - dyes are heat-trans