Free Term Paper: Manufacturing and Use of Plastic Material
Food packaging is an important step towards protecting food from contamination and enhancing convenience during transportation. Food industries rely on various kinds of materials for packaging. It should be noted that plastic material has been used for quite a long time in this industry. Even though the use of plastics has raised various health concerns, the material is still being widely used for food packaging across the world.
This paper does a review on Manufacturing and Use of Plastic Material and makes comparison between plastics and other competitive practices. Besides, it also underscores the position of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the product, explores its status outside America, and outlines its benefits to this particular industry.
The process of manufacturing plastic materials is started by the acquisition of raw materials, which is ethylene. It is achieved through dehydration of ethanol through the process of extraction (Strong, 2005). During this process, master batch is added to color the film and make sure that it matches the extraction. Polymer pellets are then melted to create polythene film from which printed carrier bags, mailing bags, pantone requirements, the thickness, and texture of the polythene are checked against some specifications. During the process of printing, flexographic printing plates are used for the transfer of designs onto the prepared polythene. Many manufacturers use computerized color matching technology for printed packaging. This is instrumental in making sure that consistent toning and shading is achieved. The printed polythene film is then transformed into an ideal product.
Casting is a manufacturing process that is quite competitive and used in the process of production. It is often used in the production of goods like radio housings, designer furniture, and paper weights bow. Unlike the former process, this is cost effective and has fewer wastes. Rotational molding is also another competitive process that is important in highlighting the textual and physical attributes of products (Strong, 2005). It is used in the production of storage tanks and traffic bollards. This process helps in the manufacture of products that are relatively more appealing. The goods are arguably considered to be of higher quality, hence, deliver better performance in the market.
The manufacturing of plastic materials depends on thermoforming (Strong, 2005). It entails the process of using preformed sheets and constitutes warming, sucking, and molding. It is used in the manufacture of products used in packing food like bowls, margarine containers, and yoghurt pots. The process applied in the production of different forms of plastic material impacts the properties of the materials in various ways. With regards to this, provision of different shapes ensures that materials can be used for different functions. For example, a pipe for watering undergoes a different process of manufacturing plastic used in the production of soles for shoes.
Plastic materials have far reaching impacts on the holistic wellbeing of the environment. Apart from portraying an unpleasant sight, they also contain harmful chemicals that penetrate into the ground and seep into water resources. When the water is consumed by animals and humans, they can potentially suffer various effects that may even include death. Since they are non-biodegradable, the plastic materials persist in the ecosystem and contribute significantly to environmental pollution. Ingestion of plastics by marine and other animals affects their digestive systems and may eventually cause death. Besides, plastic materials can also entangle sea animals and compromise their movement.
On the other hand, plastic also affects human health and undermines their functioning. The manufacturers use various kinds of chemical substances that are both toxic and dangerous. Research evidence shows that these chemicals are in some instances observed by humans through skin (Strong, 2005). It has also been pointed out that some chemicals cause dermatitis when humans come in physical contact with them. Furthermore, the unsightly nature of plastic pollution compromises the aesthetics of the environment, and therefore, affects the ability of humans to enjoy the comfort of their surroundings. In his review, Strong (2005) ascertains that chemical used in the manufacture of plastics cause cancer, birth defects, cardiovascular problems, liver problems, impair reproduction among others. Although the FDA approves of this product in the food packaging industry, it recognizes that some chemicals, like BPA, that are applied in the manufacturing process are dangerous and should not be used. It is reported that various manufacturing companies are already avoiding the use of this chemical. Essentially, organizations take various measures in ensuring that manufacturers do not use dangerous chemicals in their production processes.
Plastics are seemingly used across the world for various functions. There are several manufacturers in different parts of the world that consider the business as a very lucrative niche. As a result of this, they use the venture to earn a living. Perceptions of plastics by the global community are varied. Despite the availability of information on the impacts of this product on human and environmental health, not all are knowledgeable on the product. This explains the reason why certain manufacturing companies still use the dangerous products. Regulatory bodies outside the US also contribute significantly towards making sure that the product is used safely. Even though these institutions have in place, ideal regulations for overseeing the use of the products, enforcement of these provisions is compounded by laxity. Many people across the world still use plastics for various functions.
There are general benefits of using plastics for food packaging. Its light quality makes it ideal for the transportation of various food products. It gives the implication that minimal energy resources are used for transporting the product. This in turn reduces the costs of shipping and also emissions into the environment. Besides, plastics promote safety and hygiene in various ways. The material prevents contamination of drugs and food during manufacturing, distribution, display and processing. The transparent nature of the product enables consumers to easily view the contents without having to touch them. The tamper proof enclosures also enhance the security and safety of the product. It is also important to appreciate the contribution of this product to food preservation. With regards to this, perishable food that is packaged in plastic bags tends to last for an extended period of time. Plastics also prevent the use of preservation chemicals, thereby maintaining the nutritional value of the particular food as well as its taste.
The food industry depends mainly on plastic materials for packaging. Its manufacturing process is step-wise and complicated. It begins with the acquisition of raw materials and ends by the customization of the product. As revealed by the study, there are various competitive practices to this process of manufacturing. Based on the effects, chemicals contained therein can cause cancer, skin infections, poisoning, miscarriages and cardiovascular infections. Important regulatory bodies like the FDA approve of the product and its use in the food packaging industry. However, they recognize that some of the chemicals that are used during the manufacturing process are toxic and threatening to human health. However, the product is multifunctional and used by all countries across the world. Apart from its light characteristic, it is ideal for use in the food packaging industry since it is cheaper, enhances safety and security of the product, help in the preservation of the contents and maintenance of their nutritional value.
Strong, B. (2005). Plastics: Materials and processing. New York: Prentice Hall.