‘Tis the Season to Celebrate Extrusion

August 1, 2022

Christmas celebrates infancy. ‘Tis the season of lullaby-carols, and the annual reminder that a baby was born in Bethlehem a very long time ago whose life and death changed the world. As an apolitical technical author, l’ll just say that I’m for anything that makes us kinder and more caring for others.

Well-meaning but misplaced plastiphobia has its origins in infancy, too — a baby gets everything without knowing how or why, as it is unable to understand explanation. And reliance on the unexplainable resides in all of us, making it more comfortable to ignore and even deny the natural laws of science and chemistry that created our materials.

Extrusion celebrates Christmas, too, with:

  • Flame-retardant “needles” on PVC trees;
  • insulation on all the wiring for the lights;
  • the coated-paper packages that protect our presents;
  • many of the presents themselves (Hula Hoops are still around);
  • synthetic-fiber clothing;
  • the film that bags and saves the leftovers from our feasts (we use our resources efficiently through in-house recycling).

Extrusion also makes our babies’ lives easier. Extrusion-blown baby bottles are usually polypropylene, not polycarbonate, but early PC bottles started the still-living belief that something called BPA is in every plastic, ready to poison us if we go near it. BPA is bisphenol A, a building block for polycarbonate — the material of our CDs and aircraft windows — and has no connection with any other plastics. Polycarbonate is too expensive to get involved in packaging, and in any case the BPA should all be gone when it is converted into the plastic. Numbers matter. In their need to avoid chemistry, our opponents have resorted to the fictitious chemical element Bolonium (symbol Bo).

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