Photodegradable Plastics

Last updated: February 1, 2017

What Does Photodegradable Plastics Mean?

Photodegradable plastics gradually break down with exposure to light. They are used to reduce the problem of litter and its resulting damage to the environment by becoming brittle and breaking down into smaller pieces when exposed to light for a prolonged period of time.

Safeopedia Explains Photodegradable Plastics

Until the 1990’s degradable packaging did not break down very well, resulting in several lawsuits. The need for degradable plastics in addressing the problem of litter is evident. Various approaches have been used including biodegradable, oxidatively degradable, and hydrolytically degradable plastics. Each form of breakdown process is evident from the prefix. Thus photodegradable plastics break down when exposed to daylight, while biodegradable plastics are broken down through biological activity.


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