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Comparative assessment of marine weathering of ROP-derived biopolymers against conventional plastics

Rodgers, Karen; Mayes, William M.; Santoro, Orlando; Redshaw, Carl; Mccumskay, Rick; Parsons, Daniel R.


Karen Rodgers

Orlando Santoro

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Professor Carl Redshaw
Professor of Inorganic Materials Chemistry and REF Lead for Chemistry

Rick Mccumskay

Daniel R. Parsons


Bio-based plastics were designed to replace single-use plastics and to cause less post-consumer environmental damage. This paper assesses the weathering of four bio-based polymers created by ring opening polymerization (ROP) promoted by a previously reported Ti-based catalyst, to detect any problems before production was scaled up. Samples were aged in seawater to identify degradation products and monitor structural changes. Surfaces evidenced degradation and a range of leaching products was observed. Aside from compounds used in the preparation of the plastics (i.e. residual monomers and benzyl alcohol), the degradation products included carboxylic acids (often found in plastic leachate), oxacyclohexadecan-2-one (potentially toxic to aquatic life) and triphenylmethane (potential carcinogen). Overall, there were fewer structural changes in the fossil fuel based polymer (PS) and in the commercially available bio-based plastic studied for comparison purposes than the lab based bio-based polymers.


Rodgers, K., Mayes, W. M., Santoro, O., Redshaw, C., Mccumskay, R., & Parsons, D. R. (2021). Comparative assessment of marine weathering of ROP-derived biopolymers against conventional plastics. Marine pollution bulletin, 167, Article 112272.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 14, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 29, 2021
Publication Date 2021-06
Deposit Date Mar 29, 2021
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Marine Pollution Bulletin
Print ISSN 0025-326X
Electronic ISSN 1879-3363
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 167
Article Number 112272
Keywords Plastic; Bio-based; Bioplastic; Weathering; Leaching; Seawater
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