The degradation and biodegradation of biodegradable plastics at end of life

June 24th, 2024

Presentation by Professor Bronwyn Laycock (The University of Queensland)

Plastic waste in the environment is a major global issue, with >10 MTonne leaking into our marine waters every year. As part of the solution to this problem, there is a global push to find truly biodegradable substitutes with good and commercially relevant properties, for applications such as single use packaging and controlled release products, where biodegradability is an attractive or essential asset. However, understanding the degradation and biodegradation processes of these materials and predicting their lifetimes is a non-trivial challenge. This talk will cover our recent discoveries and fundamental research related to biodegradable polymer degradation, and the considerations this brings into play with implementing appropriate waste management systems for such materials.