What do we know about the time needed for plastics to degrade in the environment?
In a new study recently published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, Bren professor Sangwon Suh and colleagues ventured to find out the answer to this question.
In an editorial published by Suh, he details their journey to synthesize the evidences found in peer review literature, which took more than a year to complete. They found that shapes and thickness of plastic specimens used in studies vary widely, and set out to develop a method that translates disparate measures into a commensurate metric: the Specific Surface Degradation Rate (SSDR).
Their study highlights the urgent need for additional data on plastics degradation rates based on standard metrics and experimental conditions.
Paper: Degradation Rates of Plastics in the Environment, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering