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Plastic Utensils

Plastic utensils are typically made out of two types of plastics: polypropylene and polystyrene. Plastics are made from monomers and are produced from a process called polymerization. Monomers, single sequence molecules, such as ethylene and propylene are produced from natural gas and oil. Natural gas and oil, both fossil fuels, are hydrocarbons, or a series of molecules composed of carbon and hydrogen that are linked together in a repeating chain (Weisman, 2007). The natural gas and oil are heated to the point where the constituent hydrocarbons are converted into the reactive monomers (Romanowski, 2012). The monomers then become polymers (or multiple monomer molecules linked together) and are then cooled into blocks of the respective plastic they are designed to be come, depending on the additives put into the liquefied substance when the monomer conversion process takes place.