Goal: Scouts will understand that plastics are everywhere—in most facets of life, that plastics are moldable, and the difference between natural and synthetic polymers and plastics.
Supplies: paper, pencil
Natural polymers are bio-degradable, meaning they naturally decompose over time. Most synthetic polymers do not decompose so recycling is important. Recycling uses mechanical processes to separate plastic types, grind the plastic, and eventually remelt and remold it into a new shape. For hard to recycle plastics, modern technology can also use chemical processes to break the polymer bonds, creating high value monomers which can then be reused.
Natural and Synthetic Polymers examples:
Synthetic polymer examples: eye glass frames, back packs, shoe soles, polyester clothes, pens, phone cases, water bottle, plastic cups, straws, food packaging.
Natural polymer examples: hair, fingernails, DNA, silk, latex.