Is Biodegradability a solution to plastics waste management? Understanding the Science, 4th November 2020, online 14.00-15.30 UK time

This lecture will review the science of bio degradation and discuss the value proposition for biodegradable and compostable plastics.

Plastic wastes on land and in oceans have become major societal issues. Articles in print, television, and social media continue to report on plastics pollution especially as it relates to findings of microplastics and fibers in the oceans. Designing thermoplastic polymers to be completely "biodegradable" in disposal systems like composting and soil (agriculture) in a specific time and rate can be a viable and responsible "end-of-life" solution, and contribute to circularity and sustainability. However, much confusion, misperception, and outright misleading claims abound in the marketplace about biodegradability and biodegradable plastics.

The concept of polymer materials that degrade and disappear without leaving behind fragments or harmful products is appealing, and literature carries countless papers on the subject. However, many of the products and reports do not demonstrate complete removal from the selected disposal environment by microbial metabolism in a defined rate and time.

The relationship between polymer structure and the receiving biological environment to biodegradability will be discussed.

Biobased plastics in which fossil carbon of the polymer molecule is replaced in part or completely by renewable bio carbon offers the value proposition of a reduced carbon footprint, enhanced rural agrarian economies, and food security. However, a biobased product is not necessarily biodegradable or compostable.

Is Biodegradability a Solution to Plastics Waste Management? - Understanding the Science
Presented by Ramani Narayan (Michigan State University)John Summerscales is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
A University of Plymouth MAterials and STructures (MAST) research group seminar

Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 979 3191 7933 Passcode: 675968

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Posted 2020-10-30 12:16:44

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