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Plastic, difficult to degrade, and easy to produce harmful substances when burning, is the problem of garbage disposal at present. Especially thin film plastic, mostly disposable, and difficult to recycle.
To solve this problem, environmentally friendly and naturally degradable materials have been developed, which have the properties of traditional plastics and are also biodegradable.
But there may be a few facts about "biodegradable plastics" that you need to know.
Biodegradable plastics are not necessarily biodegradable plastics
Biodegradable plastics may use biodegradable materials, but petrochemicals (or a mixture of the two) may also contain biodegradable additives.
Biological raw materials are usually natural macromolecules (such as starch, cellulose, chitin) or agricultural and sidelife products, which are produced by microbial fermentation or synthesis of biodegradable macromolecules, such as thermoplastic starch plastics, PHA, PLA, starch/polyvinyl alcohol, etc.
Many raw materials for polylactic acid (PLA) production come from corn starch
Conventional petroleum-based plastics can be made into plastics that are partly biodegradable (e.g., oxidized-degradable plastics), usually by adding starch to the plastics to make them break down easily, but only into smaller volumes of petroleum-based plastics. How much do you know about environmentally friendly and naturally degradable materials?
In addition, even biodegradable plastics require additive chemicals to give them specific properties, as is the case with conventional plastics.
Degradation is not necessarily complete biodegradation
Biodegradable plastics can be divided into fully biodegradable plastics and destructive biodegradable plastics, and photodegradable plastics.
Destructive biodegradable plastics, like the oxidized plastic mentioned earlier, currently include traditional petroleum-based plastics modified (or filled) by starch, which biodegrades the added starch and then breaks down into smaller pieces of petroleum-based plastic. Because microplastics are still produced after decomposition, and are not fully biodegradable, oxo-degradableplastic has been banned in some countries. France banned the plastic in 2015, and Spain introduced a similar ban in 2016. Plastic bags made from oxidized biodegradable plastic are no longer used by retailers in the UK. But compared with traditional petroleum-based plastics, such plastics are more vulnerable to breakage in the natural environment, at least reducing the risk of Marine life being killed by accidental ingestion or entanglement. / /
Fully biodegradable plastics are made entirely from biobased materials, all of which biodegrade into carbon dioxide and water. For example, Jilin province, which has issued a ban on plastic bags, is known to use PLA and PHA plastics in most plastic bags, and jilin has also built a special PLA industrial park.
Photodegradable plastics have photodegradable characteristics by adding photosensitive groups to the main chain of polymer or adding photosensitizer and photoinitiator to the plastic. The orderly breaking of polymer molecular chains under the action of sunlight leads to its destruction and degradation. Light, heat and other effects in the natural environment on photodegradable plastics can make plastic large molecules into small molecules. But as the name suggests, photodegradable plastics do not degrade when light is not visible, such as when buried in soil.
Biodegradable is usually under industrial composting conditions
Most of the fully biodegradable plastic products on the market, such as Ali's degradable express package, are biodegradable under industrial composting conditions, rather than under natural conditions.
The European standard EN13432 for packaging compost in the eu method of packaging waste only requires biodegradable plastics to be biodegradable in an industrial environment under certain conditions (extended temperatures above 50 ° c). Under different conditions, such as Marine environment, comprehensive and rapid biodegradability cannot be guaranteed.
Even under industrial composting conditions, it usually takes three to six months to degrade.
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