Disposal of Plastic Films in Near Equatorial Regions

Disposal of plastic films is one of the main problems faced by municipalities in the cities of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. A study was conducted to evaluate the photodegradability of 50- to 70-^m thin film exposed at the Dhahran, Jeddah, and Baha exposure sites [64].

Untreated, unstabilized films made of blend 75% HDPE and 25% LDPE were exposed at the above three sites for a duration of 4 months. Changes in carbonyl absorbance and mechanical properties were measured on samples withdrawn on a monthly basis. Figure 5.4 presents the change in percent elongation at break versus exposure time. It was conclude that it took about 3 months to lose its original mechanical properties at the Dhahran, Jeddah, and Baha sites.

The rate of degradation is higher at Dhahran as compared to the Jeddah and Baha sites. However, a complete breakdown does not occur within 3 months of natural exposures. It was recommended that if films having thickness closer to 50-70 ^m having masterbatch containing starch, pro-oxidant filler is used; then it is possible to have biodegradability simultaneously with photodegradability in this part of the world, where higher UV radiation and temperature leads to earlier

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