Biodegradable plastic how it is made
Biodegradable plastic - There is a hot debate as why plastic should become biodegradable and if they should be biodegradable. Companies have gone so far to state that plastic is not biodegradable, but it has shown that with the miracles of nature, it is.
The question we have to ask ourselves is how long does it take for this material to be broken down by mother earth?
The answer to this question...not that long.
Synthetic resins which are made by natural resources such as oil and natural gas have the ability to become polymers by adding dimers to the polymer chains. These dimers create reactions which cause two monomers to morph into larger chains which are called polymers. These polymers are used for our everyday packages and consumer goods.
The reverse occurs through hydrolysis, by the same action that you create a polymer you reverse the same action and you create a monomer , which in turn is easily consumed by microorganisms. Hydrolysis is the reaction by which water interacts with a polymer causing bonds that link monomers to each other to be broken. Both of the scenarios hydrolysis and creation of the polymer dehydration synthesis involve water.
One scenario is taking ethanol and dehydrating the bonds through the reaction of dimer and water. This is how bio-polyethylene is manufactured which has a reduction of Co2 emitted by the growing of sugar cane.
Biodegradable plastic from synthetic plastic can be made as well, by addition of an additive into the plastic product which hydrolyze the polymer through microbial interaction. When microorganisms sense that their is food within the area, much like humans we begin to salivate. Microbes release enzymes which interact with the additive when inside the polymer matrix. The polymer undergoes a reaction of hydrolysis which allows the polymer to reduce the molecular weight, reducing the polymer back to a monomer for it to be consumed by microorganisms after the full cycle of the package or product. The plastic, which now has undergone the first step in biodegradation is easier and more rapidly consumed by microorganisms to be captured as energy after mother nature has done her process.