Polymers in Wastes and their Environmental Impact
The traditional polymer materials are available today, especially the plastics, which is the result for decades of evolution. Their production is extremely efficient in terms of utilization of raw materials and energy, as well as of waste release. These products show an excellent property like impermeability to water and microorganisms, high mechanical strength, low density especially for transporting goods, and it is low-cost due to manufacturing scale and process optimization. However, some of their most useful features, the chemical, physical and biological inertness, and durability resulted in their accumulation in the environment if not recycled. Unfortunately, the accumulation of plastics, along with other materials, is becoming a serious problem for all countries in the world. These materials occupy significant volume in landfills and dumps today. Recently, the presences of huge amounts of plastic waste items are dumped into the oceans has been observed, considerable part of them coming from the streets, going through the drains with the rain, and then going into the rivers and lakes, and then to the oceans. These materials are harmful for living organism and it can affect the ecosystem too. So, these wastes should be recycled or managed under proper method. As a result, there is a very strong and irreversible movement, in all countries of the world, to use materials that do not harm the planet, that is, low environmental impact materials.