Degradation is a general term that includes a number of specific processes: for example, biodegradation (degradation mediated by microorganisms); photodegradation (degradation mediated by light) etc. It is advised to consult the Technical Report CEN / TR 15351: 2007 Plastics – Guidelines for the vocabulary in field of polymers and products of plastics degradable and biodegradable, for a comprehensive analysis of the terminology used in this field.
In the last few years, additives have appeared in the market, in the form of polymeric concentrates (commonly called “masterbatch”), to be added to the polyolefins in processing phase in order to promote the degradation of post-use. The promotion of such products is using environmental claims related to the characteristics of degradation / biodegradation in the end of life.
The objective of this project is to gather competences in the public and private research organisations to provide information in this area, identifying different origins of the technologies, characterizing the mechanisms of action, describing environmental claims generally used for promotional purposes and then figuring out if there are additional requirements for standardization/unification. This project will cover only the technologies based on the use of additives; this would exclude degradable copolymers (such as copolymers of ethylene and carbon monoxide , or copolymers based on ethylene and/or propylene and alkyl vinyl ketones (commonly methyl vinyl ketone) .
 E. Drent, P.H.M. Budzelaar. Palladium-Catalyzed Alternating Copolymerization of Alkenes and Carbon Monoxide.
Chem. Rev. 1996, 96, 663–682.
 J. E. Guillet Ed. Polymers and ecological problems, Plenum, New York (1973)
The first stage will be aimed at bringing the group members to a level of knowledge at which the chemical characteristics of the additives and the suggested mechanism of action will become familiar to everyone. From there, different industrial formulations of additives and different families of additivated and neat polyolefins will be taken from the market. The idea is to distribute said materials to research and industrial laboratories able to carry out ageing in different environmental conditions, biotic and abiotic, according to internal standards or according to existing national or international normatives. The aged and original materials will then be sent to other laboratories able to follow the degradation behavior by all possible methodologies (e.g. spectral analysis, NMR, GPC, chemiluminescence, rheology, SEM, mechanical, thermal, etc.).
June 2019 update – A first draft of the report has being prepared and circulated to all partners. The report is collecting all the relevant rules and normatives existing at International level on additives intended to promote the degradation of polyolefins. The comments and suggestions received will be reviewed and considered during the Polymer Division Meeting in Paris.
Page last updated 28 June 2019