Plastic was invented by Alexander Parker in 1862 and made with “organic derivative of cellulose” that was heated, molded into a shape, and then kept it’s shape after cooling. But the term plastic didn’t really come into use until 1909 when Leo H. Baekeland started making it with coal tar. But plastic really took off after World War I when petroleum became available, thus making petroleum and natural gas “the primary sources and key ingredients in plastic.” Essentially, plastics are made of large molecules, called polymers, that repeat forming chains.
Small correction, that’s Alexander Parkes.
Most plastics also contain many more “ingredients” – organotins for scratch resistance on bottles, pigmenting agents (organics, also copper, cadmium, iron, and many more), antimony as a flame retardant, and much more.
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