Degradation of Plastics

A special issue of Polymers (ISSN 2073-4360). This special issue belongs to the section "Biomacromolecules, Biobased and Biodegradable Polymers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2025 | Viewed by 2422

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Departamento de Química, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Burgos, Plaza de Misael Bañuelos s/n, 09001 Burgos, Spain
Interests: smart polymers; sensory polymers; detection of target species; colorimetry; fluorimetry; polymers for advanced applications
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Co-Guest Editor
Polymer Research Group, Faculty of Science, University of Burgos, 09001 Burgos, Spain
Interests: polymers; polymer sensors; high performance aramids; design, synthesis and characterization of polymers; polymers for advanced applications
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Co-Guest Editor
Departamento de Química, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Burgos, Plaza de Misael Bañuelos s/n, 09001 Burgos, Spain
Interests: polymer reinforcement; thermoplastics; composites; aromatic polyamides; injection moulding; extrusion; polymeric electrolytes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Research on the degradation of plastics involves a deep understanding of the intricate processes by which synthetic polymer materials disintegrate and break down over time. Various factors such as environmental conditions, exposure to light, heat, mechanical stress, and microbial activity, and the application of organocatalysts influence the degradation of plastics. Investigating these mechanisms is crucial for developing effective strategies to facilitate plastic degradation, especially to enhance their potential for recycling through methods such as chemical recycling. Techniques such as biodegradation, where microorganisms break down plastics into simpler compounds, and photodegradation, involving the breakdown of plastics under sunlight, are of particular interest. Research also explores the development of novel materials and additives, including the use of organocatalysts, that can expedite or control the degradation process, allowing for more efficient recycling and reducing the environmental burden of plastic waste. Understanding the science behind plastic degradation is fundamental for advancing sustainable practices, optimizing recycling technologies, and ultimately mitigating the detrimental impact of plastic pollution on our environment.

This Special Issue, entitled "Degradation of Plastics", comprehensively covers a diverse spectrum of plastic degradation techniques and procedures, spanning from foundational basic research to the practical implementation of these techniques in real-world applications.

Dr. Saúl Vallejos Calzada
Dr. Miriam Trigo-López
Dr. Álvaro Miguel Ortega
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

 

Keywords

  • polymers
  • plastic degradation
  • biodegradation
  • depolymerization
  • environmental impact
  • polymer recycling
  • chemical recycling
  • hydrolyzable polymers
  • non-hydrolyzable polymers

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 2425 KiB  
Article
Effect of Abiotic Treatments on Agricultural Plastic Waste: Efficiency of the Degradation Processes
by Zbigniew Emil Blesa Marco, José Antonio Sáez, Francisco Javier Andreu-Rodríguez, Rosa Penalver, Manuel Rodríguez, Kristina Eissenberger, Patrizia Cinelli, María Ángeles Bustamante and Raúl Moral
Polymers 2024, 16(3), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16030359 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 946
Abstract
In this study, four different plastic materials usually used in the agricultural sector (polystyrene film (PS), polyethylene terephthalate film (PET), low-density polyethylene film (LDPE) and linear low-density polyethylene film (LLDPE)) were subjected to different abiotic treatments, including photo-oxidation (ultraviolet and e-beam radiation) and [...] Read more.
In this study, four different plastic materials usually used in the agricultural sector (polystyrene film (PS), polyethylene terephthalate film (PET), low-density polyethylene film (LDPE) and linear low-density polyethylene film (LLDPE)) were subjected to different abiotic treatments, including photo-oxidation (ultraviolet and e-beam radiation) and thermochemical treatments, to enhance polymer degradation. The extensive use of these polymers leads to large amounts of plastic waste generation, including small plastic pieces, known as microplastics, which affect the quality of the agricultural environment, including soil fertility and quality. Therefore, polymer degradation strategies are needed to effectively reduce plastic waste to protect the agricultural sector. The degree of polymer degradation was assessed by the use of thermal and spectroscopic analyses, such as TGA and FTIR. In addition, efficiency, cost–benefits, and potential side-effects were also evaluated to propose the optimal degradation strategy to reduce plastic waste from the point of view of efficiency. The results obtained showed that the pre-treatments based on photo-oxidation (ultraviolet B and C and e-beam radiation) were more efficient and had a better cost–benefit for the degradation of the polymers studied in relation to the thermochemical treatments. Specifically, ultraviolet photo-oxidation worked well for PS and PET, requiring low energy and medium times. However, e-beam radiation was recommended for PE (LDPE and LLDPE) degradation, since high energy and long times were needed when ultraviolet energy was applied to this polymer. Furthermore, the overall efficiency of the plastic degradation of pre-treatments should be studied using a multicriteria approach, since FTIR assessments, in some cases, only consider oxidation processes on the plastic surface and do not show the potential integrity changes on the plastic probes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Degradation of Plastics)
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25 pages, 10801 KiB  
Article
Effect of Gelatin Coating and GO Incorporation on the Properties and Degradability of Electrospun PCL Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Regeneration
by Carlos Loyo, Alexander Cordoba, Humberto Palza, Daniel Canales, Francisco Melo, Juan F. Vivanco, Raúl Vallejos Baier, Carola Millán, Teresa Corrales and Paula A. Zapata
Polymers 2024, 16(1), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16010129 - 30 Dec 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1065
Abstract
Polymer-based nanocomposites such as polycaprolactone/graphene oxide (PCL/GO) have emerged as alternatives for bone tissue engineering (BTE) applications. The objective of this research was to investigate the impact of a gelatin (Gt) coating on the degradability and different properties of PCL nanofibrous scaffolds fabricated [...] Read more.
Polymer-based nanocomposites such as polycaprolactone/graphene oxide (PCL/GO) have emerged as alternatives for bone tissue engineering (BTE) applications. The objective of this research was to investigate the impact of a gelatin (Gt) coating on the degradability and different properties of PCL nanofibrous scaffolds fabricated by an electrospinning technique with 1 and 2 wt% GO. Uniform PCL/GO fibers were obtained with a beadless structure and rough surface. PCL/GO scaffolds exhibited an increase in their crystallization temperature (Tc), attributed to GO, which acted as a nucleation agent. Young’s modulus increased by 32 and 63% for the incorporation of 1 and 2 wt% GO, respectively, in comparison with neat PCL. A homogeneous Gt coating was further applied to these fibers, with incorporations as high as 24.7 wt%. The introduction of the Gt coating improved the hydrophilicity and degradability of the scaffolds. Bioactivity analysis revealed that the hydroxyapatite crystals were deposited on the Gt-coated scaffolds, which made them different from their uncoated counterparts. Our results showed the synergic effect of Gt and GO in enhancing the multifunctionality of the PCL, in particular the degradability rate, bioactivity, and cell adhesion and proliferation of hGMSC cells, making it an interesting biomaterial for BTE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Degradation of Plastics)
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