No, tupperware is not a mineral. There are five criteria that a material must meet to be considered a mineral, and tupperware fails all of them.
In this article, we’ll explain what those five requirements are, why it is that tupperware fails to make the grade.
First, Tupperware Is Not Formed or Made Without The Assistance of Humans
One of the initial criteria to be scientifically considered a “mineral” is that the substance must exist in nature without the involvement of humans.
A substance can be a mineral if humans make it, too. Ice is a good example of a mineral that is both natural and man-made. But if ice did not exist without human intervention, it would not be considered a mineral.
Most tupperware products are made of a high-strength plastic made from a monomer called bisphenol-A (BPA). They may also be made from polycarbonate.
Bisphenol-A and polycarbonate are synthetic materials, meaning they are/were created by humans.
These materials may be made from substances which are considered or classified as minerals. But containing minerals does not make a substance a mineral itself.
Tupperware in its commercial form (bowls with lids) obviously does not exist in nature. The materials that are used to make the tupperware also do not exist in nature.
Thus, tupperware fails this first requirement to be considered a mineral.
Second, the Material Must Be a Solid
Tupperware is not a liquid or a gas, and it has a solid structure. Tupperware can become a liquid or a gas if enough heat is applied, but that characteristic does not mean it fails here.
Since Tupperware is a solid, it does not fail this requirement to be a mineral.
Three, the Material Must Be Inorganic
This kind of “organic” that this step addresses is the chemical kind of organic, not the food kind of organic.
In chemistry, most organic compounds contain carbon-hydrogen or C-H bonds. (source)
Some examples of organic materials are: DNA, sugar, methane, and ethanol.
Some examples of inorganic materials are: salt, carbon dioxide, diamonds, and silver.
In tupperware (or other plastic molded products, the formula varies. It is possible that some materials could contain C-H bonds, while others would not.
In the case of polycarbonate, there are C-H bonds. As a result, even though plastic seems like the least likely material to be considered organic, plastic is an organic material.
As a result, tupperware (assuming its formula has C-H bonds), fails the third requirement to be considered a mineral.
Four, the Material Must Have a Consistent Chemical Composition
Tupperware is a broad term used to describe any number of types of plastic containers. There is a formula for tupperware, and every effort is probably made to make the tupperware product as consistent as possible.
It is entirely possible that tupperware produced in this century is chemically consistent across the board, given the number of years it has been produced and advances in industrial technology.
Certainly, it is probably more consistent in chemical composition than concrete is. (This is one of the many reasons concrete is not considered a mineral).
But it is unclear whether all tupperware is consistent in its composition throughout each piece. Unless and until it can be proved that tupperware meets this requirement, it cannot pass.
Fifth, the Atoms in the Material Must Be Arranged in a Consistently Orderly Manner
In general, if you cut off a small sample of a mineral (regardless of where you find it), the atoms would be arranged in the same way.
After all, it was the forming up of the atoms in a particular way that gave the mineral it’s particular characteristics.
With tupperware, assuming that the formula is the same, it is likely that the atoms in the material (chemically bonded as they are) would be consistent and orderly.
This is in contrast to wood, whose atoms do not form up in an orderly manner, though the material is quite solid. This is one of several reasons why wood is not considered a mineral, though petrified wood is.
We think that tupperware would pass this requirement, because it does have a really organized internal chemical structure.
To Conclude: Is Tupperware a Mineral?
Tupperware fails to meet many of the requirements to be considered a mineral: (does not exist in nature, is organic, and we can’t be sure that it has a consistent chemical structure).
Because a material must meet all five requirements to be considered a mineral, tupperware is not a mineral.
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