Plastic doesn’t come from nature like wood or cotton. Plastic was invented by people in a science lab. There are lots of types of plastic with many useful properties. How do paper cups work, if paper can’t hold water? If you look carefully, the paper cup is lined with plastic because plastic is waterproof. A bicycle helmet protects your head and neck if you have an accident. A bike helmet uses many types of plastic: an outer shell made of strong plastic, a foam liner made of lightweight plastic, and a strap made of flexible plastic.

Eyeglasses were originally made from glass. Imagine if you tripped and fell! Ouch! Glasses are made from plastic that won’t break or crack. Hearing aids use electricity to increase the amount of sound a person can hear. Plastic stops the electricity from shocking the person wearing the hearing aid. Plus, plastic is easy to clean and it can be made to fit into any shape ear!

Plastic is so cheap and easy to make that many plastic objects are only used once. Each year, 500 billion plastic bags are made. And the average lifespan of these bags is only 15 minutes before they become garbage. Plastic doesn’t rot like a banana peel. Instead, it breaks down into smaller pieces and eventually tiny pieces called microplastics. A plastic bag takes 20 years to break down. A plastic tooth brush takes 500 years to break down!

So what would the world look like if plastic was never invented? Find out together with Cosmo!

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