Degradable plastics. Myths about decomposable plastics

Less than a century ago, mankind let into its life plastics that quickly gained their niche in our lives. Plastics are convenient, cheap and practical, few will be compared in terms of properties with polyethylene and polypropylene.

However, the durability of the plastic, its chemical and mechanical resistance suddenly became its sore spot. So, an ordinary plastic bag can lie in the ground for hundreds of years.

Today, many people ask themselves – do we need immortal films, bottles and bags? In the West, many efforts are devoted to the study of this issue, but in Russia, many did not hear about biodegradable plastics. And this theme, only appeared, quickly acquired stereotypes, myths and rumors.

There are many alternative solutions in this area, but we will consider one of the most promising – the use of d2w, which provides decomposition of the product for 1-3 years. Today such a technique is used in more than 60 countries, which convincingly proves its effectiveness.

To go to a new process, a complex and expensive replacement of technology, equipment, retraining of personnel is needed.

The d2w additive is used in a small amount of 1% with standard PE and PP. Such an insignificant number does not affect the processing – the technological process remains the same, no replacement is required.

The product acquires new properties, the old ones are already lost.

The introduction of only 1% of the additive in the process of manufacturing products (packages, films, containers) does not change the product in any way. It has all the same appearance and the former physico-mechanical properties. There is only one difference – after a certain period of time, which is determined by the compounding of the additive, oxidative reactions, and then the biodegradation will lead to changes in the properties of the product. Usually this happens 1-2 years after production, as a result, plastic will begin to lose its strength, it will become more fragile, break up into fragments, and eventually disappear completely, disintegrating into water, carbon dioxide and biomass.

Special conditions are necessary for the disappearance of such plastic.

As an analogy lead biopolymers on a plant basis, which decompose only in industrial composting conditions. Plastics with the content of d2w do not require special humidity, pressure or temperature. The only requirements, not complicated at all, are the presence of light and microorganisms. Simply said, if such a package is thrown ashore a pond or landfill, then a year and a half later the plastic product will disappear. If the products are stored in warehousing conditions, they will retain their original properties longer, the decomposition process will be started only after using the product. Thus, the decomposition process is quite flexible, which is beneficial to all – packaging manufacturers, those who use it and the end user.

Such materials should not be recycled again.

As with conventional PE and PP, such materials carrying the d2w additive can be completely recycled. It is interesting that not only industrial waste is recyclable, that is, recycling of products is possible. This, of course, is true for cases when the process of decomposition has not yet begun. But the additive can also be used with secondary raw materials, and not only with the primary.

On the degradability of synthetic polymers, speaking in principle is not correct.

In a normal state, synthetic polymers are not biodegradable. Due to their molecular structure, these substances are almost unique properties of strength, elasticity, resistance to oxidation and durability. Polymers have long and branched molecular chains. Thus, the molecular weight of polyethylene is 17,000 times the molecular weight of water. But ultimately even such polymers as PP and PE threaten the decomposition, first, through oxidation, and then through biochemical decay.Of course, for such processes hundreds of years will be required, while the presence of light and high temperatures is also necessary, which will lead to the destruction of polymer molecular chains. The additive d2w can be considered a pro-degradant, which acts as a catalyst for the rapid destruction of molecular chains. This leads to an increase in the fragility of the plastic product, its rapid disintegration into flakes. With a decrease in the size of molecular chains, carbon combines with oxygen, which leads to the formation of carbon dioxide. At the same time, the molecular mass is rapidly decreasing to 40,000 atomic mass units. At this stage, the material is able to absorb moisture, microorganisms get the access they need to hydrogen and carbon. At this stage, biological decay sets in. Carbon helps organisms to create cell walls, carbon dioxide is released, oxygen is connected to hydrogen and water is released in the form of water.

It is preferable to use decomposable plastic with the use of plant raw materials.

Today, in times of crisis, the use of expensive plant raw materials, especially unjustifiably. In addition, do not forget about the problems of hunger in many countries. By the way, there is a steady rise in prices for food products, which is directly related to the production of biofuel. The use of the d2w additive eliminates the need to use biological raw materials. Only 1% of the catalyst added to the standard synthetic polyolefins will give an environmentally friendly decomposable plastic.

There are no such materials in Russia and they will not appear soon.

For some reason, the Russian market is still considered backward. In fact, these technologies have already come to us, the additive can be ordered from Simplex, which is the official distributor of the English company Symphony Environmental, which produces the additive. In this case, the sellers will give all the necessary consultations.

Ecology issues are very important, but rather expensive.

Indeed, the additive is more expensive than conventional polyolefins. But in the total mass of plastic only 1% of the additive, the cost of raw materials increases by 10-15%, and the cost of the whole product – even less. All this is more than compensated by environmental and marketing advantages.

Now there is no time to think about ecology.

To answer this statement, let us recall the words of Antoine de Saint Exupery: “We did not get the Earth inherited from our ancestors – we just took it as a loan from our children.” It is worthwhile for everyone at any time to think about the preservation of the fragile environment that surrounds us – about nature. In Russia, people are spoiled for the breadth of space, it seems that the resources are endless, and the trouble, if it does, is not soon. However, unpleasant reality can come much sooner, today the forests and reservoirs are already filled with plastic bottles and packages, and what will happen tomorrow? What will our children see?

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