Worksheet: Polymers and the Environment

In this worksheet, we will practice evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of plastics and their place in our society and consider environmental concerns.


Which of the following is a disadvantage of using plastic cooking utensils rather than ones made from metal?

  • AThey are cheaper.
  • BThey are easier to mold.
  • CThey are corrosion resistant.
  • DThey are lighter.
  • EThey have lower heat resistance.


Which of the following is a disadvantage of burning plastic?

  • AIt produces toxic gases.
  • BIt reduces the need for landfill.
  • CIt reduces visual pollution.
  • DThe heat created can be used as energy.
  • EIt reduces risk to wildlife.


Which of the following is not a pollution problem caused by certain types of plastic?

  • AAnimals ingest small pieces of plastic.
  • BSmall animals can become trapped inside plastic containers.
  • CSeabirds can get the plastic stuck in their throats.
  • DDrains can become blocked with plastic waste.
  • EMicrobeads of plastic are used in cosmetics.


Many food products, like orange juice, which were once stored in glass are now stored in plastic containers. Which of the following is not an advantage of using glass?

  • AGlass containers can be reused many times, while plastic containers can only be used once.
  • BGlass production happens in fewer stages than plastic production.
  • CAround 50% of a new glass container is recycled glass, while plastic containers are made from 10% recycled plastic.
  • DThe raw materials for glass are sand, limestone, and salt, while the raw material for plastic is crude oil.
  • EGlass containers are produced in a few specific sizes, while plastic containers are made in many sizes.


Why are household wires coated in plastic?

  • APlastic is brittle.
  • BPlastic is hard.
  • CPlastic melts at a low temperature.
  • DPlastic is a polymer.
  • EPlastic is an insulator.


When considering plastics, which of the following describes the meaning of the term biodegradable?

  • APlastic can be used to produce compost.
  • BPlastic takes over 100 years to decompose.
  • CPlastic takes up space on a landfill site.
  • DPlastic leaves harmful materials behind when it is broken down.
  • EPlastic can be decomposed by bacteria, organisms, or fungi.


When manufacturing goods, which of the following objects do not depend heavily on plastic?

  • AToys
  • BElectronics
  • CTextiles
  • DPackaging
  • EFurniture


Which of the following is an advantage of recycling plastic?

  • AIt is an expensive process.
  • BIt reduces the quality of the plastic each time.
  • CIt conserves crude oil.
  • DIt is difficult to sort.
  • EIt uses a lot of energy.


Which of the following is an advantage of recycling plastic?

  • APlastic recycling generates low-quality jobs.
  • BPlastics can often only be recycled one time.
  • CMelting plastics for recycling generates carbon emissions.
  • DVolatile organic compounds are released when plastics are melted.
  • EThe amount of energy used during the production of recycled plastics is reduced.


Which of the following is a disadvantage of recycling plastic?

  • AMinimization of waste in landfills
  • BReduction of pollution
  • CEnvironmental conservation
  • DPreservation of natural resources
  • ELeaching of plastic resin into food

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