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* Cellular phones
Not sure but I think most of it could be replaced with hemp or other products
* Laptop or Netbook computers
* Iphones, Blackberries, etc.
* Underground power lines
Nope, sorry. Unless the ingredients in the hemp are themselves turned into a polymer (after all, oil contains primarily hydrocarbons, the building
blocks of all life), there is no way any organic substance could be used to produce the lightweight, compact, and insulating cases that allow us to
have small lightweight electronic devices. It simply isn't possible with our present technology. Now if you propose using hemp to form a polymer
chain material with the same properties as various plastics, what you are actually saying is "we don't need plastic, we need plastic instead".
* Electromagnet coils (at least efficient ones)
Not sure about this one
* Transformers (the efficient models)
The insulation surrounding wires in a coil (commonly referred to as 'magnet wire' in the industry) must be of a microscopic thickness to allow for
efficiency in transferring electrical energy into magnetic energy and vice versa. The only material we have that can handle appreciable voltage
differentials in such a small thickness, and which will remain flexible enough to allow winding the coils, is polymers... plastic.
Also, to prevent energy loss (and overheating) through hysteresis, cores must be laminated with insulating layers to prevent electrical eddy currents.
Plastic can accomplish this in a few thousandths of an inch; other materials may work, but only when applied in much greater thicknesses, increasing
the overall size of the device. And I should mention that transformers are in practicaly every electrical device in your home (save a few large
appliances that can handle the household voltage directly).
Silicium is Latin for silicon
* Most integrated circuits (includes MPUs in your computer, TV chips, controllers, digital clock chips, ad infinitum)
Silicium and other
. Silicon is the stuff the chips themselves are made of
internally, precisely 'doped' with various impurities to give it its needed properties. It is not a good insulator compared to plastic or ceramic,
and since the chips themselves are made of doped silicon internally, there are inherent problems with using it (diffusion).
Ceramics are used for some chips, but ceramic is heavier and more costly. The majority of manufacturers have switched to plastic after a shortage
occurred a few years back from China, the leading supplier of ceramic for chip packages. Using ceramic exclusively would place China in the position
of being able to regulate who had technology and would add pounds to practically every piece of electronic equipment used. Sure, no one died from a
"kilo more", but it is a fact that lightweight devices are more in demand than heavier devices. Cell phones themselves did not gain popularity for
many years until their size and weight was reduced.
* Disposable diapers - cotton did the trick for centuries.
And cotton is still a viable alternative. I just don't like washing them out. Do you? Does anyone?
* Disposable trash bags - Wouldnt need this if trash would be treated right
To some point I agree with this. We could easily reduce our waste considerably if people would take a little extra time and use a little ingenuity. At
my home, we rarely throw away anything that can be reused as another need... aluminum cans are kept for sale or possibly for smelting into aluminum
sheet; large plastic bottles become funnels, hardware canisters, even piping or flotation devices if there is a need for such.
* High-insulation UV-retardant windows
we wouldnt have the issue with UV to begin with if we would live our lives less para siting the earth.
Yes, we would. There has been no appreciable increase in UV radiation in recorded history.
The reason UV radiation is typically blocked from windows is to reduce the amount of 'waste' (invisible) energy that enters the home through the
windows and is then held in as heat. Too much solar heating uses up excess power in cooling the area down. Plastic (mylar, I believe) in UV-blocking
windows saves energy
* Most types of insulation (asbestos excluded of course)
glasswool is good enough with some straw.
'Glasswool' is a type of plastic.
Straw rots after a few years.
* A great deal of clothing
I personally prefer cotton or hemp
As do I, but some things cannot be made from cotton or hemp (unless it is converted into a polymer as mentioned above). Hosiery, for example.
* Quite a few tools
Can all be replaced. Downside is that companies would only sell a product once a lifetime... *except parts
You also forget that size and weight will be greatly increased. No more portable tools, unless you have Schwartzenegger arms.
And forget about cordless. Can't happen without polymers.
* Bulletproof glass
Who needs guns?
* Bulletproof vests/armor
Who needs guns?
I do, and you do, when faced with a criminal who has one and wishes to get you out of his way.
But that's a different thread. We have them. Period. Otherwise no one would be spending the kind of money they do for Kevlar vests and 2" thick
polycarbonate glass. That stuff is expensive! I know; polycarbonate sheet is one of my favorite building materials and I keep some of it 'in
* LEDs and digital displays
Yep, these are handy
Yes, they are!
And they're made of polymers.
Well it's clear that we need it to some extend but right now it's overkill and most products are really "throw-away".
I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly! there is no need to use plastics for temporary uses. Unfortunately, however, people are intent on
purchasing items that are wrapped in rolls of the stuff, and then throwing those rolls of stuff in the trash.
The only point I wanted to make is that we do need some plastic to maintain any semblance of our standard of living. And I do believe you now see that
[edit on 8/23/2010 by TheRedneck]