This post is part of the What Are Plastics Anyway? masterclass – a guide to all things plasticky.
Natural polymers are created as part of ongoing biological processes cotton is part of a plant, wool is grown by sheep and leather is the skin of what ever unfortunate animal.
Man made polymers are, as the name suggests, manmade. The key point here is that though the base material may be a natural product such as oil, the polymers derived from it are not. They are not the result of a natural process but have been created artificially.
Most synthetic polymers that we use today are made from oil. However as oil becomes more scarce and more expensive, synthetic polymers are being derived from all manner of substances including corn, potatoes and even chicken feathers.
What is It Used For