Where Does Plastic Come From?

Plastic is a manufactured substance created through the manipulation of organic raw materials. The primary material used to make plastic is crude oil. Other materials used are cellulose, coal, natural gas and salt.

The first stage in creating plastic involves refining the crude oil through the process of distillation. Distillation separates the heavy crude oil into lighter component parts called fractions, of which Naptha is the fraction most vital to the creation of plastic. The naptha is then catalyzed in either a polymerisation reaction or a polycondensation reaction, depending on the type of plastic that is being made. Each reaction can make a variety of different plastics, but all plastic is created as a result of one or the other.