Investigating Plastic Degradation due to Sunlight Essay

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All plastic types fall under a code no, known as an SPI code (as devised by The Society of the Plastics Industry), based on their chemical composition. As some plastics are more easy to recycle than others. Polyethylene Terephthalate ( PETE or PET) it is the most commonly recycled plastic. High-Density Polyethylene, or HDPE. HDPE products are very safe and they are not known to transmit any chemicals into foods or drinks. Plastic labeled with an SPI code of 3 is made with Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC. PVC is not often recycled and it can be harmful if ingested. Low-Density Polyethylene, or LDPE. LDPE is not commonly recycled, but it is recyclable in certain areas. Polypropylene, or PP. PP is not commonly recycled, but it …show more content…
Essentially, all plastics degrade. This is done in 2 ways with temperature and time. Time we have no control over but Temperature we can control. To keep the integrity of the plastic intact, the lower you keep the temperature, the better. It is a phenomenon based on time-temperature superposition. It means that time and temperature have the same effect in degradation. Agitation of the molecular bonds of the plastic are what encourage it to degrade. So in a strict sense, yes someday they will degrade but it's highly unlikely that will be a in a short space of time.

Just like in getting a tan, UV light is more energetic than normal light and so is more damaging. If you left a plastic toy out in the sun, it would have a damaging effect on the toy, the short term effect would be extreme discoloration.

Polyethylene terephthalate or PET is a nearly indestructible plastic used to make most containers and bottles. Petroleum based bottles like PET do not decompose. A Canadian student, Daniel Burd recently demonstrated that certain types of bacteria can break down plastic. His research earned him top prize at a Canada science Fair. Burd mixed landfill dirt with yeast and tap water, then added ground plastic and let it stew. The bacteria Pseudomonas and Sphingomonas were isolated as the successful bacteria used to do so.

Until other researchers

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