Plastic Waste – Degradation Effects of Sunlight Studied

The abstract of a September 8, 2021, Environmental Science & Technology study by researchers with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Florida State University report that “… Sunlight exposure is a control of long-term plastic fate in the environment that converts plastic into oxygenated products spanning the polymer, dissolved, and gas phases. However, our understanding of how plastic formulation influences the amount and composition of these photoproducts remains incomplete. Here, we characterized the initial formulations and resulting dissolved photoproducts of four single-use consumer polyethylene (PE) bags from major retailers and one pure PE film … Sunlight exposure consistently increased production of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) relative to leaching in the dark (3- to 80-fold) … Overall, these findings suggest that plastic formulation, especially TiO2, plays a determining role in the amount and composition of DOC generated by sunlight. Consequently, studies on pure, unweathered polymers may not accurately represent the fates and impacts of the plastics entering the ocean …” #PlasticWaste #SingleUsePlastic

Published by Jack Cooper

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