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Today’s molecule is polyethylene, it is a substance which you might know better as PLASTIC. It is the most common plastic and it is found in plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic boxes and many more plastic products.


Polyethylene is man-made  and it is called poly-ethylene because it is a repeating unit of ethyl, poly is used in the name to describe the fact that there are many ethyl groups all joined in a row.




The good things about polyethylene are also the things that mean it is doing damage to our environment.

It is:

  • resistant to a wide range of chemicals, which we can describe as being inert;
  • it is lightweight and
  • durable.

However it can last for hundreds and hundreds of years so when we throw plastic away it doesn’t just degrade into the earth it remains and now our oceans are full of plastics. Plastic oceans are not very kind to the animal and plant life in the oceans, they mistake plastic for food and then starve to death or choke. So the next time you feel annoyed about paying 5p for a plastic bag, think about the impact.

Have you thought about saving plastic today? Tweet @nanosimbox with #reduceplastic tips.