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June 18, 2012

Institute of Chemical Technology researchers develop new oxodegradable plastic

A new oxodegradable polymer that can decompose in a couple of months when exposed to sunlight has been developed by the scientists at the Institute of Chemical Technology, Matunga, Mumbai, India.

By Srivani Venna

A new oxodegradable polymer that can decompose in a couple of months when exposed to sunlight has been developed by the scientists at the Institute of Chemical Technology, Matunga, Mumbai, India.

According to the researchers, the plastic polymer was developed by combining plastic granules with a catalyst derived from metals that helps plastic break down into smaller chains.

The research team, which has been working on the project for four years, processed the catalyst with synthetic polymer granules to manufacture transparent plastic films.

The catalyst promotes the oxodegradation of plastic and causes the plastic to degrade in sunlight when discarded.

Head professor of the Institute of Chemical Technology department of polymer and surface engineering RN Jagtap said as plastic is chemically inert, it does not degrade for years.

"Indiscriminate use of the polymer resulting in litter affects the environment and pollutes the earth," Jagtap added.

The researchers have refused to reveal the metals from which the catalyst was derived due to the still ongoing application process for a patent, but said that it had not been obtained from toxic heavy metals.

Oxodegradable plastics, which can also be recycled with normal plastics, degrade in the presence of ultraviolet rays and heat.

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