Process Economics Program Report 115A
Environmentally Degradable Polymers
Published: April 1991
This report addresses the current concerns and technological developments related to environmentally degradable polymers.
The processes and mechanisms involved in photodegradation and biodegradation are presented, along with a summary of related patents. Discussions of governmental statutory and agency and key industrial organizational activities are presented. Technical developments that are commercially available or under development are reviewed, and updates are provided for several inactive degradable technologies.
Technologies are explored and process economics are developed for three degradable polymer technologies based on (1) biopolymers obtained via bacterial fermentation, (2) biodegradable blends of synthetic polymers and polysaccharides, and (3) photodegradable ethylene/carbon monoxide copolymers.
Issues concerning degradable polymers as they affect other solid waste management strategies are also discussed.