Photodegradable Plastics
WithJames E. Guillet
Pages 44

Photodegradable plastics can be made by the addition of additives usually in the form of a masterbatch. The Ecolyte process developed at the University of Toronto involves inclusion in the backbone of the chain of a polymer, a group of the general structure. In the near UV range there is more radiation in artificial sources although still rather small compared to solar radiation. The world production of plastics used for packaging is about 32.4 billion pounds per annum, of which the three largest are polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene. Studies of the biodegradation of C-labelled Ecolyte polystyrene have confirmed the presence of the radio label in the growing hyphae of bacterial species as well as in proteins, nucleic acid derivatives, and the CO2 developed during the culture. Environmentalists seem to believe that all disposable packaging is wasteful of both energy and resources. Computer simulations are a useful way of assessing the value of various litter abatement strategies.