Arpana Pallavi Palanna D. Sayantan


Polyethylene has become an integral part of our contemporary lives. The neoteric versatile nature of polyethylene is used in constructing various applications. Out of the plastic waste discarded, 60% of the plastic waste enters landfills. The polyethylene discarded in the soil and water on exposure to the environment forms macroplastics (>2.5 cm), mesoplastics (5 mm - 2.5 cm) and microplastics (<5 mm). Microplastics in the water and soil are observed to have lethal and ecotoxicological effects on aquatic and terrestrial organisms. They enter the food chain and permeate into the food that one eats. In order to address this impending concern, the present study aimed to treat plastics to form a degradable, safe and earthy material. The dissolved polyethylene was treated with starch and was made to react with oxidizing agents such as hydrogen peroxide, nitric acid and acetic acid to lower its inert ability to withstand its degradation. The effect of starch and oxidizing agents on dissolved low density polyethylene was subsequently analysed. The analysis of treated polyethylene showed a decrease in its crystallinity percentage by 6.19 and an increase in its functional groups on reaction with solvent trichloroethylene made to react with starch and oxidizing agents. In the present research, tests were conducted to obtain the various methods that can be utilized to reverse the inert ability of polyethylene. The prevailing recycling model that uses antioxidation techniques is counterproductive since it was found that such techniques appeared to make the polyethylene more resistant to further degradation. In this study, the polyethylene was dissolved in the solvents, such as xylene and trichloroethylene, to make the polyethylene more susceptible to reactants and hence a viable model for treating polyethylene.




Polyethylene, Plastic degradation, Oxidation reactions, Thermo-oxidation reaction

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Research Articles

How to Cite

A primary study on the degradation of low-density polyethylene treated with select oxidizing agents and starch. (2023). Journal of Applied and Natural Science, 15(2), 884-889. https://doi.org/10.31018/jans.v15i2.4645