MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
The alarm clock rings, I open one eye to see the time displayed through the GPPS screen, and I press the snooze button to give myself time to stretch quietly in my soft polyester blankets before getting up. I open the extruded PVC window assembled with a TPV seal to see the weather and take a deep breath of fresh air. I lower the temperature of my thermostat in PC FR. Head for the shower, made up of a large thermoformed ABS/PMMA bi-material sheet with shelves molded into the wall to avoid joints. ABS provides impact resistance, while acrylic (PMMA) provides a glossy surface that is easy to clean and that provides scratch resistance. I notice that my shampoo bottles, previously made of HDPE, are more often made of PETE now. This is no doubt because the major manufacturers of personal care products have realized that HDPE is recycled much less than PET water bottles which retain their transparency once recycled, allowing a greater choice of colors. When I get out of the shower, I carefully extract my acrylic-based contact lenses from the protective PP case to insert them into my eyes and regain perfect vision. When working from home I wear my cellulose glasses with acrylic lenses that have been coated against blue light. I then apply my moisturizing creams which glass jars are fitted with unscrewable PP lids with threads that perfectly match those of the container to allow easy opening/closing repetitively while preventing the content from losing its moisture and hardening.
I start the coffee maker made of metallic ABS parts to give it a more stylish look. Coffee capsules, extruded in multi-layer film and then thermoformed, are increasingly being replaced by compostable starch-based plastics. I open the fridge to prepare my lunch. SAN or MABS drawers allow me to see the food at a glance. I grab a PET bottle of vegetable juice that protected the liquid from oxidation during transport and tableting to my fridge. I take the sandwich that I made the day before in which “zip-loc” made of PE film has kept it fresh. Another item for my lunch: the vegetable salad stored in a PETG container with a clarified PP lid equipped with flexible hinges and overmolded with a TPE gasket ensuring a good seal so that the vinaigrette does not leak! I put everything in my lunch bag with a blow molded HDPE ice pack.
I put on my clothes, the stockings of which are made of nylon, invented by DuPont in 1935-1938. Next step: makeup. Brushes for applying cosmetics have soft polyester or nylon bristles. The ABS cases have acrylic lids so I can see and choose the colors well. Then I grab my toothbrush, which alone is an example of manufacturing genius. It presents the complex assembly of a polypropylene handle overmoulded by injection in a multi-cavity rotating mould, and extruded nylon or PP monofilaments whose molecular chains have been oriented to give them more resistance.
A look at my cell phone which data has been updated thanks to the telecommunication system composed of fiber optics with PEI connectors, and ABS FR or PPE cases powered by electrical wires covered with flexible PVC sheaths, all meeting very strict CSA and UL standards. I grab my keys and get in my car. So there, the list is long because the automobile is the product which contains the greatest number of plastic materials: ABS, ASA, TPU, PA 6, 66, 45 and 12, sometimes loaded with reinforcements, PPA, PC, PMMA, POM, PPS, PP filled with talc or fiberglass, seals in TPV, thermosetting rubber or SEBS, non-woven polyester fibers ”spundbonded”, etc.
This is just the start of my day, now imagine how many products contributing to the comfort and functionality of our daily lives are made of polymers. It is said that we touch a product containing plastic around 2000 times a day. In the end plastics aren’t that bad, are they? My former teacher, Michel Labonté, said: “there are no bad plastics, just bad applications”.
However, when it comes to their end of life, we agree that there is still a lot of improvement to be made. Fortunately, the major producers are aware of this and have been working on solutions for several decades now. Like what? Ask the experts in the plastics industry, they will surely be able to give you examples.
Become a member of SPE Québec and attend our events to meet with them and learn more! Your president Marie-France Sosa, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 514-245-3204. Visit our new website: www.spesection.quebec