World plastic market size was valued at about 600 billion USD in 2021, and is expected to increase at a CAGR of about 4 % from 2022 to 2030. The growth is attributed to its increased demand in the construction, automotive, and electrical & electronics industries. They are acting as good substitute for metals, glass and ceramics, and helped make a lot of commodities affordable, adding to the economies, contributing to the prosperity of many people. However, the cheap and easily available material is now destroying the planet due to the waste disposal problems. Generation of plastic waste has increased twice compared to two decades ago, of which the majority is ending up in the landfill, getting incinerated or leaking into the environment; whereas, only about 10 % is getting recycled. It is in general knowledge that plastic take about thousands of years to degrade and thus will stay with us for a really long time. This blog post intends to provide some scientifically studied data of plastics generation providing approximate degradation rate of plastics used in bulk. Same is shown in the graph below and explanation is provided below it.
- µm/year: micrometer per year
- PET: polyethylene terephthalate
- HDPE: high density polyethylene
- PVC: polyvinyl chloride
- LDPE: low density polyethylene
- PP: polypropylene
- PS: polystyrene
The graph provides the degradation rates of the above mentioned plastics in two types of disposal conditions: those which are disposed by throwing in landfill or compost or soil and when disposed in marine environment. It’s to be noted that the plastics are without any fillers or major additives or not exposed through any accelerated conditions and the values detailed approximate.
Of the listed plastics PS has the lowest degradation rate whereas, LDPE has the highest value. However, considering the unit of µm/year; these values are still very small.
I hope this scientifically determined data will reinforce our belief of putting extra efforts in reducing the generation of plastic waste and also disposing them more responsibly.
Dear Readers, do go through the above blog post on ‘Approximate Degradation Rate of Plastics’ and let me know your viewpoints in the Comments section.
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