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Question

State whether plastic is biodegradable or non-biodegradable ?  Give reasons for your answer


Solution

Plastic is made from petroleum, a product of oil, using heat and a catalyst to change the propylene into polypropylene, a substance not found in nature. PET is a polyester. Since these are unnatural products, not found in nature, there are no organisms capable of decomposing the material, so it will not degrade as does other plant and animal waste. Thus, they are non-biodegradable.

Plastics present many problems beside being non-biodegradable. These include: they are flammable, pollute the environment at a staggering rate, and cannot be safely burned. Plastics are killing wildlife when they are mistaken for food, and stick in the body until the bird or animal dies of starvation.

There are some plastics that are processed to avoid the strong carbon bonds formed in the heating process, but they will not last as long as the mainstream plastics, and will start to break down much sooner.


Chemistry
Science for Eighth Class
Standard VIII

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