Can seawater break down plastics? – Australia

Can seawater break down plastics? – Australia

Posted on October 5, 2023 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News

University of Queensland researchers are developing a plastic that breaks down in seawater to help turn the tide on marine waste.

Source: Can seawater break down plastics? – Inside Waste

Dr Qiao said one technique they’ll use, called ring-opening polymerisation, allows them to precisely control the mechanical strength and shape of the plastics while giving the plastics a low-toxic polyester ‘backbone’.

“This means the plastics are able break down to a molecular state in marine environments,” she said.

Dr Qiao said the goal is to commercialise a new line of products in Australia and China within five years to replace traditional plastics and tap into a biodegradable market expected to exceed $9.5 billion by that time.

“Effective seawater-degradable polymer plastics will reduce plastic debris in oceans, boosting the health of ecosystems and the quality of life in communities around the world,” she said.

“We are also fostering collaboration between research groups in Queensland and China to further our strengths in polymer science and additive manufacturing.”