Self-destruct plastic is going cheaper!
January 8, 2007 2:34am CST
One of the advantages of plastic is that it does not rust or rot. But this can also be a problem - plastic cups, bags, wrappers and containers litter the countryside and beaches all over the world. Unless they are picked up, they go on accumulating year after year. To deal with this problem, various forms of degradable plastic have been developed. The secret is to incorporate into the plastic a chemical that can be attacked by light, bacteria or other chemicals. Biodegradable plastics can be made by adding starch. if the plastics are buried, bacteria that feed on starch will gradually break them up into tiny pieces that disappear harmlessly into the soil. Chemically degradable plastics can be broken up by spraying them with a solution that causes them to dissolve. They can be used, for example, as a protective waxy covering for new cars, and washed off at the dealer’s garage by a specially formulated spray. This reacts with one of the components in the plastic and causes it to dissolve into harmless materials which can be flushed down the drain. One of the most successful uses of degradable plastics is in surgery, where stitches are now often made using plastics which dissolve slowly in body fluids, saving the patient the anxiety of having the stitches removed. Drugs are often prescribed in plastic capsules which dissolve slowly, releasing the drug into the bloodstream at a controlled rate. What self-destruct plastic do you have in your house?