We are going to start right at the beginning – before plastic there were polymers – before polymers it was monomers..

A monomer is a molecule that can join with other molecules to form a chain of molecules.

A chain of monomers (or molecules) is called a polymer.

So, a polymer is a chain of repeating monomers or molecules.

A polymer is a large molecule that is made out of many smaller molecules that are joined together by covalent bonds. It may also be called a macromolecule.

Polymers may consist of just one type of monomer or many different monomers. But the pattern must repeat

So a polymer is many  monomers or small molecules, joined together in a repeating pattern. The pattern has to repeat a number of times, (a minimum of 500 was one number I read)

Chains of polymers then bond or stick together to form stuff like cellulose, the woody stuff in plants.

Natural polymers are created as part of ongoing biological processes – cotton is part of a plant, wool is grown by sheep and leather is the skin of what ever unfortunate animal.

Synthetic Polymers

Synthetic polymers are, as the name suggests, manmade. The key point here is that though the base material may be a natural product such as oil, the polymers derived from it are not. They are not the result of a natural process but have been created artificially.

Monomors have been isolated and then rearranged in new groupings to form new polymers in a precess known as polymerisation. Read more about it here.


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4 thoughts on “Monomors and Polymers

  1. I can see where you made your mistake. You judged the whole blog by the tag line. You see yes we do live as plastic free as we possibly can in our day to day lives but do not boycott all plastics. If you look a little further down the page under the heading “the plastics we use” right there on the home page you see we say “We realise that a total ban on all plastics is not a realistic or even a desirable goal. Some plastic products are worth the environmental costs. This blog tries to decide which is essential plastic (computer? Camera? clothes line?) and which is not (carrier bags? toys? clothes?). And how the less desirable aspects can be minimised. Join us in the debate….”

    You see under essential plastic we put computer and if you follow the link you will find a long post extolling the many virtues of plastic and again our commitment to a wide range of plastic products. If you looked a little harder you would find my recent post on plastic cars and the benefits there of. So you cannot visit my plastic free world because I never claimed to live in one or evinced a desire to do so. And you wont be seeing any posts on wooden computers or cars because that would be rather silly.

    So, and bear with me here, -the challenge is to see how much plastic we can do without, to see if it is possible to live plastic free on a day to day basis while acknowledging that plastic is useful and valuable. The wider purpose of the blog is to try an ascertain what might be considered essential use of plastic and what is unnecessary consumerism that is impacting adversely on the environment. These are ideas I am in the process of developing and refining as part of an ongoing debate. A debate I invite others to contribute to, a debate that is becoming increasingly relevant and important to increasing numbers of people. But you do have to read more than the tag line to get all that.

    Plastic pollution is becoming distressingly high profile as it becomes increasingly visible. I am deeply concerned with the impact non-biodegradable plastic rubbish is having on the environment and I am addressing the part I play in the creation of unnecessary yet everlasting rubbish. I am taking responsibility for my own actions, the rubbish I create and writing about the changes I have made.

  2. Can I just ask what you guys are suggesting that we use to convey and pack foods and products in the future if you get rid of plastics? Are you be going to post your blogs on wooden computers and drive around in wooden cars. You might want to take a look at how much energy consumption is reduced by the use of plastics in packaging, transport and the likes.

    I would really like to visit the “Plastic free” world in which you live and see just how plastic free it really is

  3. Thank you for taking the time to comment and what an interesting comment that was. You are right about education – I really knew so little about plastic when I started this blog – and I am learning as I go but it is hard. Information is hard to come by and even harder to check. Disinformation is the norm. I am not saying that all of this is deliberate but that we really dont know too much about plastic yet we are using it in massive quantities everyday of uor lives. We had better hope it is safe!
    Once again thanks for your comment Xpam

  4. I have been following your blog for some time and support your initiative.
    As manufacturer I only can vouch for your claims. Plastic is rubbish, it is dangerous to our planet, and our health.
    Poly propylene sacks manufacturing. Our production rate was over 200 000 PP bags daily, amounting to roughly 20 metric tons a day. At the time I did not fully comprehend the damages plastic cause.

    I realized that debris was everywhere though, caused by various processes.
    It goes much further. Poly Propylene is easily degraded by UV radiation, so the industry became smart, and added yet another dangerous substance ( UV stabilizer ). TiO2 Titanium dioxide ( usually about 0.01 % ) is added during Raffia production.

    There are multiple colorants which are added during processes, printing. We have not investigated the toxicity of those colorants.
    I assume they are riskier as the material itself.

    Most of these PP sacks end up in the food chain. They are used to pack grains, wheat flour, bran, rice, maize, etc. and therefore are in direct contact with the food chain.

    As if the aforementioned was not enough, there are yet other dangerous substances added during manufacturing.
    Friction during manufacturing causes parts to heat up. In order to reduce the heat, manufacturers use mineral oils which produce lubricating films on the PP material.

    Even though this is only in small percentage normally, in case of recycled plastic this ratio is increased in order to pass the material without frequent stops.

    Normally consumption is approx 200 l a week. These lubricants enter the food chain, as they come in contact with food (flour, maize, sorghum, millet, rice, etc.)

    Normally the choice of lubricant is Silicon based oils. More often than not manufacturers are forced to switch to other lubricating oils (price cheaper).

    Having said all this I am of the opinion that the Plastic industry is dangerous.
    We stopped manufacturing plastics ten years ago.
    The worst of all is that people are not educated enough of dangers associated with plastics.
    I therefore find your efforts essential for a good cause,
    and I commend you for this.
    and wish you success,

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