Plastic is a ubiquitous material in our life, and its durability represents a great problem for the environment. Several studies reported the occurrence of plastic litter in different environmental compartments and, consequently, numerous efforts are currently focused on how improving its recycling process and produce environmentally friendly solutions. In recent years, biodegradable polymers/plastics (BPs) have been proposed to reduce environmental impacts in specific applications (e.g., when conventional plastics are difficult or expensive to remove from the environment). Their wide use in commercial products, especially in the packaging sector, is causing new pollution alarm. Research studies are ongoing to improve BPs manufacturing and characteristics, but few data are reported about their behavior and toxicity into the marine environment. This paper reviewed the current state of the art highlighting that, even though the degradation of BPs in simulated or real marine environments is quite investigated, only eleven papers reported their effects on marine organisms (e.g., behavioral and oxidative stress and potential cascading effects on marine ecosystems). Presently, the main benefits of BPs are linked to waste management (including collection and recycling of organic waste). Due to the existing knowledge gaps, BPs cannot be deemed yet as a solution to marine plastic pollution.

Biodegradable polymers: A real opportunity to solve marine plastic pollution?

Libralato G.;
2021

Abstract

Plastic is a ubiquitous material in our life, and its durability represents a great problem for the environment. Several studies reported the occurrence of plastic litter in different environmental compartments and, consequently, numerous efforts are currently focused on how improving its recycling process and produce environmentally friendly solutions. In recent years, biodegradable polymers/plastics (BPs) have been proposed to reduce environmental impacts in specific applications (e.g., when conventional plastics are difficult or expensive to remove from the environment). Their wide use in commercial products, especially in the packaging sector, is causing new pollution alarm. Research studies are ongoing to improve BPs manufacturing and characteristics, but few data are reported about their behavior and toxicity into the marine environment. This paper reviewed the current state of the art highlighting that, even though the degradation of BPs in simulated or real marine environments is quite investigated, only eleven papers reported their effects on marine organisms (e.g., behavioral and oxidative stress and potential cascading effects on marine ecosystems). Presently, the main benefits of BPs are linked to waste management (including collection and recycling of organic waste). Due to the existing knowledge gaps, BPs cannot be deemed yet as a solution to marine plastic pollution.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/893657
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