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Additives to make conventional polymers degradable

SpecialChem / Nov 5, 2003

Industrial polymers are very resistant to degradation. Their natural elimination is often impossible and the environment suffers long-term pollution. This pollution can be: * Visual: films, polyethylene bags, PVC or polyester bottles… * Physical: obstruction to flowing water… * Chemical: chlorine of PVC… Because plastic consumption is continuously increasing there is significant interest in making common non-degradable polymers biodegradable to ensure the “cleaning” of the environment. The high road is biodegradability but the constraints are stringent and other routes are studied as: * Photolysis * Solubility…and so on. Some of these routes are not really satisfactory because only visual pollution is suppressed. Mastering natural degradation is difficult because of the effects of multiple interacting parameters: * Heat * Oxygen * Light and UV * Moisture * Micro-organisms Biodegradation, for non-biodegradable polymers, is obtained by using high levels of biodegradable additives.

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