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    #1

    Post why is plastics plural

    Below is a quote from Cambridge student book.


    Even taking into account the rollercoaster changes in price for recycled plastics, glass and paper, it’s still worth recycling.


    Why is only “plastic” plural? Can we say just ‘’plastic’’?
    We say “We need to recycle plastic.” (uncountable noun) Is this correct? Or do we have to say “We need to collect plastics?’’


    --plastics glass and paper --- when three nouns are together it just looks weird that only “plastic” becomes plural.

  1. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: why is plastics plural

    Quote Originally Posted by s.clke View Post
    Below is a quote from Cambridge student book.


    Even taking into account the rollercoaster changes in price for recycled plastics, glass and paper, it’s still worth recycling.


    Why is only “plastic” plural? Can we say just ‘’plastic’’?
    We say “We need to recycle plastic.” (uncountable noun) Is this correct? Or do we have to say “We need to collect plastics?’’


    --plastics glass and paper --- when three nouns are together it just looks weird that only “plastic” becomes plural.
    "Plastics" includes a large group of synthetic substances such as polymers, resins and others. While it is a correct usage, I believe that using the singular here would convey the same meaning to a layperson and would work just as well.

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    #3

    Re: why is plastics plural

    There might be big differences in the prices for individual plastics that are fluctuating more than others.

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    #4

    Lightbulb Re: why is plastics plural

    riquecohen-san & Tdol-san, thank you for your answers. Hmmm...I didn't think there are different types of plastics... In Japanese we also say plastic but I think it's just one thing, same as paper and glass. I don't really think about what type of plastic it is. Are there any different types of paper and glass...?

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    #5

    Re: why is plastics plural

    All of the various plastic bottles and containers (in the US anyway) are marked with a number indicating how they are to be sorted for recycling. In contrast, both glass and paper/cardboard are recycled without any type of sorting system that I am aware of.

  2. Soup's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: why is plastics plural

    Quote Originally Posted by s.clke View Post

    Why is only “plastic” plural?
    See American Plastic: a cultural history (page 1944, second paragraph).

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    #7

    Re: why is plastics plural

    Thank you all.
    I may become a plastics expert before I master English...

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    #8

    Re: why is plastics plural

    Quote Originally Posted by s.clke View Post
    riquecohen-san & Tdol-san, thank you for your answers. Hmmm...I didn't think there are different types of plastics... In Japanese we also say plastic but I think it's just one thing, same as paper and glass. I don't really think about what type of plastic it is. Are there any different types of paper and glass...?
    But we do have to separate PET bottles- in my building, there's a special bin just for PET.

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    #9

    Re: why is plastics plural

    Quote Originally Posted by s.clke View Post
    Below is a quote from Cambridge student book.


    Even taking into account the rollercoaster changes in price for recycled plastics, glass and paper, it’s still worth recycling.


    Why is only “plastic” plural? Can we say just ‘’plastic’’?
    We say “We need to recycle plastic.” (uncountable noun) Is this correct? Or do we have to say “We need to collect plastics?’’


    --plastics glass and paper --- when three nouns are together it just looks weird that only “plastic” becomes plural.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) May I add to the great posts that you have already received and

    to the outstanding link given to us by VIP Member Soap.

    (2) Of course, this dunce cannot link, so I shall quote from a Google

    book entitled Training in Plastics Technology, published in 2000 by Messrs.

    Michaeli, Greiff, Wolters, and Vosseburger:


    The use of the plural "plastics" instead of the singular "plastic"

    indicates that we are dealing with a variety of materials that can

    differ markedly in processibility or in their reactions to the influence

    of heat.

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    #10

    Re: why is plastics plural

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    But we do have to separate PET bottles- in my building, there's a special bin just for PET.
    I know about PET bottle bins but I haven’t thought about the reason why they need to be thrown away separately. (Maybe they are reused as they are..!?)
    If you think about different types of paper such as tissue paper, A4 copy paper and biodegradable paper, can we say “papers”??
    To me singular-plural and countable-uncountable are always a headache…

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