Is CPE plastic biodegradable? (11 applications)

This article will elucidate the biodegradability of CPE. Other covered topics will be: 

  • What is CPE plastic?
  • What category of plastics CPE falls to?
  • Is CPE plastic biodegradable?
  • What are the effects of non-biodegradable waste?
  • Is CPE plastic recyclable?
  • FAQs

Is CPE plastic biodegradable?

CPE is not biodegradable because it is made of ethylene monomers. These monomers are known to persist for a long time in the environment. 

CPE is the result of the chlorination of polyethylene. It is regarded as an inexpensive variation of conventional polyethylene. It is an alternative to HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene). 

Like most plastics, CPE can be recycled. In fact, it is even argued that CPE is one of the best solutions to non-biodegradable waste because when non-biodegradable waste is recycled, the impacts of such waste on the environment can be deterred. 

What is CPE plastic? (11 applications) 

Plastics are a type of polymer. A polymer is a substance or material that is made from repeating units. The repeating units are termed monomers. 

The monomers are chemically bonded to make a polymer. Common examples of polymers may include DNA, RNA or proteins. 

When it comes to polymers, there is a general classification. This classification is based on the naturality or synthetics of the polymers. 

A polymer is naturally occurring and does not need to be devised or synthesised, it is termed a natural polymer. However, if a polymer is not occurring in nature but rather is made in the labs, then the polymers are regarded as synthetic polymers. 

Examples of natural polymers include DNA, RNA, Proteins et cetera. As per the examples of synthetic polymers, plastics are the most common examples of synthetic polymers. 

As per the type of polymers, it is generally seen that the effects of synthetic polymers are greater and more fervent on life and the environment as compared to natural polymers. Thus plastics are synthetic polymers that are made from the derivatives of fossil fuels. 

CPE plastic expands to Chlorinated Polyethylene. It is regarded as an inexpensive variation of conventional polyethylene. It is an alternative to HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene). 

The name CPE is given because some hydrogen atoms are replaced with chlorine atoms to achieve functional value while being cost-effective. 

CPE is valuable because it comes along with properties such as resistance to acid or alkali, resistance to ozone and thermal ageing, oil resistance, and flame retardant properties. 

CPE may be used in a variety of applications. These may include: 

  • Extrusion 
  • Moulding
  • Tubing 
  • Cabling
  • Roofing
  • Jacketing
  • Industrial tubing
  • Use as a base polymer 
  • Plastic sheets
  • Magnetic material 
  • Use as high-quality rubber

What category of plastics CPE falls to? 

Plastics are found everywhere. Most commercial consumer products make use of plastics because of the utilitarian value given off by plastics. 

It is argued that the common use of plastics is because of the fact that plastics are cheap yet this does not affect the usability factor rendered by plastics. 

Owing to the diverse use and applications of plastics, there are seven categories of plastics. The categories are there so that plastics may be segregated and studied well. The categories of plastics are: 

  • PET 
  • HDPE
  • LDPE
  • PP
  • PVC
  • PS
  • Other

These categories link to the discrete use and qualities of plastics. You may wonder what is the last category of plastics. This category is reserved for new types of plastics. 

Common examples of the seventh category can be DNA plastics and bioplastics. These will also be detailed in the coming sections of the article.

Among the remaining categories, it is generally regarded that HDPE, PP, and PET are relatively safer and do not make use of harmful chemicals and materials. 

However, this is not the case for the remaining categories. There may be harmful chemicals or elements used to make such plastics (for example LDPE). An example can be BPA.

Bisphenol-A is an organic compound which is thought to disrupt hormones and cause other medical complications such as cancer or irritations. 

Among the types of plastics, the seventh category is regarded as the safest and the least damaging to the environment. This is mainly because plastics in the seventh category are made from natural, plant-based materials rather than fossil fuel derivatives. 

You may wonder what class or category of plastic CPE falls to. It is regarded as an inexpensive variation of conventional polyethylene. It is an alternative to HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene). 

Is CPE plastic biodegradable?

Biodegradability can be defined as a process in which biological agents such as enzymes and microbes break down complex waste into simpler structures. The simpler structures are thus able to get back to the system. 

Every day you come across the process of biodegradation. The rotten vegetables that you dispose of or the spoiled fruits that you think can not be eaten. These are common, everyday examples of biodegradation. 

It is the very process of biodegradation that is responsible for the spoilage of food. It can be termed the necessary evil because on one side food is spoiled but on the other side, it is ensured that there is no waste accumulation. 

If there is waste accumulation, there will be environmental problems and anomalies because the waste will lead to problems such as pollution and human diseases. 

Other than microbes and enzymes, there are also external factors that play a key role in the process of biodegradation. These include sunlight, aeration et cetera. 

Based on biodegradability, waste may be divided into two categories. These are biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. 

Examples of biodegradable waste include crops, plants, dead animals, manure, sewage, bioplastics, and natural fabrics. These may degrade in some days or some months. 

Examples of non-biodegradable waste may include synthetic plastics, epoxies, synthetic dyes, and synthetic fabrics like acrylic fabrics. These substances may remain in landfills for hundreds of years. 

Since CPE is made from fossil fuel derivatives, it is not regarded as biodegradable. This is mainly because CPE is made from ethylene monomers and these are persistent monomers. It will take many years for CPE to biodegrade. 

However, some recent research has led to the direction that the degradation of CPE may be possible under controlled setups. 

What are the effects of non-biodegradable waste?

This section will cover the impacts and effects rendered by non-biodegradable waste. This will also plead for the case of importance and urgency of biodegradable waste. 

The biggest harm that is caused by non-biodegradable waste is the fact that it adds to waste generation and waste accumulation. When waste is accumulated and generated in excess amounts, it leads to the decapacitation of waste management systems.

If we are not able to properly manage and segregate waste, then their impacts will be translated and reciprocated in every aspect, domain, and level of life and the environment. 

This is mainly because the waste will cause pollution and environmental degradation. The effects of waste on animals and humans can also not be ignored. 

To further assert this, consider the case of non-biodegradable plastics. Plastic waste is regarded as non-biodegradable. Even though there are many measures taken to ensure that plastic waste is either reused or disposed of properly; regardless of it, plastic waste affects more than 700 species on land. 

Now imagine what will happen if those preventive measures fail. The whole world will be faced with an irreversible catastrophe. The accumulated waste will make the whole Earth a huge dustbin. 

Another major impact that is caused and rendered by non-biodegradable waste is the emissions of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, ethylene, SOx, and NOx are responsible for a plethora of environmental anomalies. 

When non-biodegradable waste is produced and processed, there is the usage of non-renewable resources and products from fossil fuels. This leads to the burning of fossil fuels that adds GHGs to the environment. 

The most catastrophic effect rendered by the GHGs is the phenomenon of global warming. Global warming leads to another set of various environmental problems such as:

  • Melting of glaciers
  • Rising sea levels
  • Increased global temperatures
  • Unforeseen weather patterns
  • Floods
  • Droughts
  • Deforestation
  • Pollution
  • Disruption of ecosystems
  • Destruction of habitats
  • Loss of life
  • Endangerment of species 
  • Infiltrations into the food chains 
  • Degradation of air quality
  • Smog 
  • Acid rains 
  • Acidification of water bodies
  • Damage to crops
  • Infertility of soil
  • Waste wastage 

The effects of non-biodegradable waste, such as chemical waste, are not just limited to animal species and the environment. Humans are also directly and immensely impacted by the occurrence of non-biodegradable waste. 

Non-biodegradable waste is responsible for a plethora of human-related problems and diseases. Some of them can be mentioned as an example:

  • Cancer
  • Neuro complications
  • Neuro toxicity 
  • Developmental issues
  • Hormone disruption
  • Damage to children
  • Lung cancer 
  • Skin problems 
  • Nephrological complications 
  • Autism
  • Infertility 
  • Behavioural problems 

Is CPE plastic recyclable?

Recycling can be defined as the reusing of consumer products by working on them. In this way, the products do not need to be made from scratch. 

You may wonder what is the importance or significance of recycling. It can be summed up in the following key points: 

  • Better resource management
  • Better waste management 
  • One of the best solutions to non-biodegradable waste
  • Water conservation
  • Decreased pressure on raw materials
  • Decreased consumption of energy (which is mostly non-renewable) 
  • Increased labour and employment prospects 
  • Reduced pollution and environmental anomalies 

It is claimed that like most plastics, CPE can be recycled. In fact, it is even argued that CPE is one of the best solutions to non-biodegradable waste because when non-biodegradable waste is recycled, the impacts of such waste on the environment can be deterred. 

Conclusion

It is thus concluded that CPE is not biodegradable because it is made of ethylene monomers. These monomers are known to persist for a long time in the environment. 

CPE is the result of the chlorination of polyethylene. It is regarded as an inexpensive variation of conventional polyethylene. It is an alternative to HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene). 

Like most plastics, CPE can be recycled. In fact, it is even argued that CPE is one of the best solutions to non-biodegradable waste because when non-biodegradable waste is recycled, the impacts of such waste on the environment can be deterred. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Is CPE plastic biodegradable?

What are the applications of CPE?

There are many known applications of CPE because it can be used as an inexpensive alternative to HDPE. It can be used as a high-quality rubber in a plethora of commercial applications. 

Can CPE be composted?

No, CPE can not be composted because it does not contain organic content in it. It, however, can be recycled. 

References 

  • Sivan, A. (2011). New perspectives in plastic biodegradation. Current opinion in biotechnology, 22(3), 422-426.
  • Zheng, Y., Yanful, E. K., & Bassi, A. S. (2005). A review of plastic waste biodegradation. Critical reviews in biotechnology, 25(4), 243-250.
  • Han, J., Guo, Y., Wang, H., Zhang, K., & Yang, D. (2021). Sustainable Bioplastic Made from Biomass DNA and Ionomers. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 143(46), 19486-19497.
  • Pastore, C. (2021). DNA plastic. Nature Nanotechnology, 16(12), 1302-1302.
  • 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

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