Plastic Pollution and Waste Management

Plastic pollution involves the aggregation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, or human kinds. Plastics that act as pollutants are categorized into micro, meso, or macro debris, based on size. The importance of plastic pollution is correlated with plastics being inexpensive and durable, which lends to high levels of plastics used by human beings. However, it is slow to degrade. Humans are also affected by plastic pollution, such as through the interruption of the thyroid hormone axis or sex hormone levels. Plastic efforts have occurred in some regions in attempts to reduce plastic consumption and pollution and promote plastic recycling.

The use of biodegradable plastics has been shown to have many advantages and disadvantages. Biodegradables are biopolymers that degrade in industrial composters. Biodegradables do not degrade as efficiently in domestic composters, and during this slower process, methane gas may be emitted.

There are also other types of degradable materials that are not considered to be biopolymers, because they are oil-based, similar to other conventional plastics. These plastics are made to be more degradable through the use of different additives, which help them degrade when exposed to UV rays or other physical stressors. However, biodegradation promoting additives for polymers have been shown not to significantly increase biodegradation.

Although biodegradable plastics and degradable plastics have helped reduce plastic pollution, there are some drawbacks. One issue concerning both types of plastics is that they do not break down very efficiently in natural environments. There, degradable plastics that are oil-based may break down into smaller fractions, at which point they do not degrade further.

  • Plastic Pollution & its Consequences
  • Role of Bioplastics in Waste Management
  • Biodegradation, Composting, Bioremediation and Environmental Issues
  • Recycling
  • Reducing plastic pollution

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