Polymers Biodegradablity & Disposal

Notes Polymers

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  • Created on: 01-06-11 18:52
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Biodegradability and disposal of polymers
Land Fill Sites
Advantages Disadvantages
Incorporate cellulose, starch, protein to Most polymers not biodegradable
synthetic polymers makes them
Possible to design new materials = Unsightly
Cheap Unhygienic
Easy Many have reached capacity
Traditional synthetic plastics- more
economically attractive
Need land
Release green house gases- methane
Leaks contaminate water
Burning/ Incineration
Advantages Disadvantages
Burning energy for power generation or Produce toxic gases e.g. Polymers contain
heating chlorine (PVC) produce HCL when burned-
need to be removed.
Volume of waste is reduced 95% Still contribute to green house effect
Modern incinerators have high temperature
zone where flue gases encounter in excess
850C ensure complete breakdown of organic
toxins. Flue gases cleaner to extract
Advantages Disadvantages
Reduces disposal problems Significant cost compared to manufacture of
plastics from crude oil.
Successful recycling = accumulating enough Long processes. Different plastics need to
material of particular type to re-melt be collected, separated, cleaned.
Environmental Friendly Resulting product not suitable for original
Plastics melted down before being recast
into new item
Some plastics cannot be melted ­ burn or
harden instead. More difficult to recycle as
only used in same shape in original cast.


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