Is CPE material biodegradable? (3 ways to dispose of it)
This article will elucidate the biodegradability of CPE material. Other covered topics will be:
- What is CPE material plastic?
- Is CPE material plastic biodegradable?
- Is CPE material plastic recyclable?
- What is the best way to dispose of CPE material?
- Is CPE material sustainable?
Is CPE material biodegradable?
No, CPE material is a type of plastic (synthetic polymer) made from the derivatives of fossil fuels and petroleum-based products. Therefore, CPE material can not be given the status of being biodegradable.
In the case of CPE material, it expands to Chlorinated Polyethylene. CPE material is a type of Polyethylene which is a synthetic polymer just like plastics. And just like plastics will not degrade, so will the CPE material. CPE material does not have any organic inside that the microbes can feast on in order to degrade it.
However, if you rummage over the internet regarding the biodegradation of CPE material, you will find that there will be some research indicating otherwise. Yes, CPE material can degrade under certain tailored conditions but not in natural conditions and definitely not readily.
Biodegradation is the breakdown that is caused by the microbes so that waste may degrade into smaller components which can become a part of nature again.
However, the microbes do require the right nutritional content and organic content so that they may ingest the given material and degrade them.
Is it degradable?
Yes, CPE material can degrade. There is a subtle difference between biodegradation and degradation. Biodegradation is the breakdown that is caused by the action of microbes. The result of biodegradation is that there are no harmful residues left and the residues can easily become a part of nature again.
However, degradation is the peripheral breakdown that happens at the physical level (not biological levels) by the action of certain chemicals and other external conditions such as sunlight, pressure, wind et cetera.
The results of degradation are as such that the residues can not become a part of nature again and can potentially damage the environment.
CPE material, just like other plastics, can degrade into smaller pieces called microplastics. In fact, whenever plastic pollution is referred to, be it in marine environments or on land, it is the microplastics that are referred to and not the whole plastics.
Is CPE material sustainable?
In many ways, biodegradation and sustainability go hand in hand. There is, in most cases, a direct relation between biodegradation and sustainability because of the intermediaries such as resource exploitation, environmental impact, manufacturing impact et cetera.
In the case of CPE material too, the stance does not change. CPE material can not be considered environmentally friendly although it may be economically friendly.
The realisation and fact can not go into oblivion that CPE material is a type of plastic after all which is made from the derivatives of fossil fuels and petroleum products. Also, it is not biodegradable or compostable. The only environmentally sane thing to do with CPE material is to recycle it.
Also, it is important to recall that the manufacture of CPE material does mean the emissions of harmful gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen chloride.
Is CPE material plastic?
Yes, CPE material is a type of plastic. Plastics are synthetic polymers that are made from monomers derived from fossil fuels and petroleum products.
Whenever you think of plastics, you may recall all the bad stuff you had heard about plastics and the environment.
The reason why CPE material is named as such is that in CPE material, Chlorine is substituted with some hydrogen atoms of polyethene. That is why CPE material expands to Chlorinated Polyethylene.
This twerk makes CPE material more affordable and reasonable and at the same time results in it being a little more brittle and less durable as compared to other alternatives such as HDPE or PE.
What are the disposal options when it comes to CPE material?
The best disposal option?
The best way to dispose of CPE material and almost all other non-biodegradable materials is to have them recycled. This is said because when CPE material is recycled, it will not be put in waste streams (that usually end up in landfills).
Hence, there will be no problem with waste build-up and waste accumulation. Also, when CPE material is recycled, there will be a decreased strain on the resources as CPE material will not need to be made from scratch. This will save energy as well as resources.
Therefore, it is best to have the CPE material recycled and that is regarded as the best way to dispose of it.
The next topic that we need to cover is how to recycle the CPE material that you have. This can be done by having the following points in mind:
- If there is a recycling bin nearby, go for this option. Recycling bins are green-coloured bins that are specially made for recyclable material. Once you put the used CPE material in the bind, there is nothing else that you need to do.
- If there is no recycling bin around your locality, you need to look up recycling centres near you. Every area has its own local recycling centre.
- You can take the aid of recycling centres locator such as the EPA et cetera.
- If there is no local recycling centre around, you will need to look for private recycling ventures such as Terracycle et cetera. Chances are that you will find their recycling centres or recycling bins. However, you may need to pay a little something to have your products and materials recycled (including CPE material).
It is not possible and advisable to compost CPE material because of obvious reasons: it has no organic content. The very reason why material is composted is that it can be used to improve and increase the organic content of the soil.
That is why only those materials are selected that have organic content in them such as plant-based natural materials or animal waste.
However, since CPE material is neither biodegradable nor has organic content; it is not possible to add CPE material to a compost pile to make compost.
Yes, CPE material can also be reused in a number of creative ways. In many ways, the reusing of CPE material is better than the disposal because in this case, you ensure that you have extracted the full juice from the CPE material.
When it comes to reusing, there are several alternatives that you can explore such as using the used CPE material for certain DIY projects, donating it, and giving it to loved ones as well.
The CPE material can also be repurposed. For example, CPE material is used to make doors and windows. If a particular door or window can no longer be used, you can use the remaining material for home-based DIY projects. The basic idea or essence here is to properly consume the said material before going for its recycling or disposal.
It is thus concluded that CPE material is not biodegradable (or compostable) because it is made of ethylene monomers. These monomers are known to persist for a long time in the environment and therefore can not be said to be eco-friendly.
CPE material is the result of the chlorination of polyethene. It is regarded as an inexpensive variation of conventional polyethylene (a plastic). It is an alternative to HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene).
The best way to deal with CPE material is to recycle it so that there is resource conservation, energy conservation, and reduced waste production.
- Tokiwa, Y., Calabia, B. P., Ugwu, C. U., & Aiba, S. (2009). Biodegradability of plastics. International journal of molecular sciences, 10(9), 3722-3742.
- Top Glove. Biogreen Biodegradable Cast Polyethylene Glove. Retrieved from: https://www.topglove.com/glove-product/biogreentm-biodegradable-cast-polyethylene-cpe-glove
- Greenspec. Chlorinated Polyethylene. Retrieved from: https://www.greenspec.co.uk/building-design/chlorinated-polyethylene-cpe-health-environment/
- US EPA. FAQ Plastic Recycling & Composting. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/trash-free-waters/frequently-asked-questions-about-plastic-recycling-and-composting