Degradable Plastics: Plastic Pollution Solutions

Every day, the most dominant household waste is plastic waste. The existing plastic waste also causes many problems. Starting from floods, air pollution, human health, and much more.

From the problems caused by plastic waste, scientists are encouraged to create plastic degradable as a solution to these problems.

As the name implies, plastic degradable is a plastic that can be decomposed in several ways according to its type. This can be said as one solution because in general synthetic polymers such as plastics are nonbiodegradable (cannot be broken down by microorganisms).

There are 3 types of degradable plastics, namely biopolymers, photodegradable, and biodegradable synthetic. Here is a brief explanation of the 3 types of plastic degradable that.

1. Biopolymer

Biopolymers are polymers made by living microorganisms such as paracoccus, bacillus, and spirillum. For example, poly biopolymers (3-hydroxybutanoic acid) or PHBs are made by certain bacteria from glucose. When PHB is removed, microorganisms in soil and groundwater can decompose this polymer for 9 months. The disadvantage of biopolymers is that the price of PHB is 15 times more expensive than PE.

2. Plastic Photodegradable

Plastic photodegradable have a light-sensitive group (such as a carbonyl group) attached to the polymer chain. These functional groups absorb sunlight as a source of energy used to break the chemical bonds in the polymer into smaller fragments.

3. Plastic Biodegradable synthetic

Plastic Biodegradable Synthetics are made from starch or cellulose which is added to a polymer during the manufacturing process. This type of plastic can be broken down by microorganisms that consume starch or cellulose into smaller pieces. These small pieces have a large surface area thus speeding up the biodegradation process.

The drawback of this plastic is the effect of water pollution caused by its biodegradation products. The rate of biodegradation is still much lower than the rate of overflow of the generated waste.

Some plastic polymers biodegradable currently being developed is polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), which is a polymer made from 3-hydroxybutyric acid or 3-hydroxyvaleric acid. PHA can be used as a film, fiber (fiber), and coating some heat-resistant beverage cups made of paper. This type of plastic is strong, but can be degraded by bacteria.

These are 3 types of degradable plastic that are very likely to be used to maintain world pollution levels in the future. Hopefully this article can add your information about plastic that gets the predicate degradable.

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