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Can you think of life without plastic? Plastic is currently one of the most common materials. It’s used for most containers and it’s even in your clothes! But what happens to this plastic? Some gets recycled but a lot of it gets thrown away. That means it often ends up in the environment where it can break down and change. 

We wanted to see what happens to different types of plastic when we exposed them to different types of soil. We put small disks of plastic in different environments for 32 days. We then compared the plastics exposed to soil to plastic that was not exposed to soil to see how the surface and other properties changed. We also wanted to see whether any bacteria grew on the plastic. Our data proved that all plastics change when exposed to soil. But they experience different changes because they have different properties.

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About this article

Summary of research
Scientists conducted an experiment to determine what happens to different types of plastic when they are exposed to soil.
Reading level
Scientific field
Key words
NGSS standards
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Scientific methods
Type of figure
Location of research
Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
June 2022

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