Imagine life without the plastic development in the last 100 years -- from your nylon stockings to your contact lenses. The Greek word "Plastikos" means it plastic is the moleblages of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and other atoms are unwiedly chain or ring structures that can't be packed closely, so they are flexible. The first 19th-century plastics were cellulose-based: Bandaging material, billiard balls, false teeth, combs, shirt collars. New each year the world produces about 225 billion pounds of plastic -- press-on fingernails, hip-replacement joints, Spandex, packing peanuts, cheap explosives for terrorists. And most of it paid for with plastic -- Visa, Mastercard or Discover.