Biodegradation of polymers

polymers and Biodegradation

when a small repeating sub unit chemically linked together to form new compound the resulting compound will called a polymer.

Characteristics of polymer

polymers are known for their following  characteristics

  1. high molecular weight
  2. Low density:
  3. Flexibility:
  4. Thermal stability:
  5. Chemical resistance:
  6. Electrical insulation
  7. Transparency:
  8. Biodegradability:

High molecular weight:

The molecular weight of polymers are high, which make long-chain and large  molecules.

Low density:

The density of polymer is low,as a result the polymers have lightweight and easy to handle.


Showing flexibility is important characteristics of polymer and are very useful where deformation and recovery are important.

Thermal stability:

Polymer can show heat resistivity when the temperature of the system rise which is an important characteristics of it.

Chemical resistance:

Polymers have characteristics of showing resistance to many chemicals, including

  • Acids
  • Bases
  • and organic solvents.

Electrical insulation:

Many polymers are outstanding electrical insulators, which made them useful in applications where electrical conductivity requires to be minimized.


Some polymers are highly transparent and have good optical properties,which is quite to used where clarity and light transmission are important.


Some polymers have the ability to torn down naturally in the atmospere, which is an important property of polymer.

What is bio degradation?

The process in which organic substances are torn down  by living organisms(bacteria) into simpler compounds such as carbon dioxide, water, which can be absorbed and recycled by the ecosystem is called biodegradation.

Benefits of bio degradation

Reducing Pollution:

Sustainable Waste Management:

Energy Generation

Preservation of Natural Resources:

Cost-effective and Environmentally Friendly:

Reducing Pollution:

Biodegradation plays a vital role in breaking down organic pollutants, including

  • oil spills
  • sewage
  • and other hazardous waste, into non-toxic substances.

This process helps to

  • decrease pollution levels in the environment
  • and minimize the risks to human and animal health.

Sustainable Waste Management:

Biodegradation is an useful way to handle waste and decrease the amount of material sent to landfills. By breaking down organic waste into simpler compounds, biodegradation aid to form nutrient-rich soil, which is normally used for agriculture or other purposes.

Energy Generation:

Biodegradation can be used in energy generation, in the form of biogas, through the  consumption of organic waste in absence of oxygen. Which is used for many purposes

  • form electricity or heat
  • minimizing dependence on fossil fuels
  • and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

Preservation of Natural Resources:

By minimizing the requirement  for constructed chemicals and other non-renewable materials, biodegradation play its role for the protection of natural resources. By reducing the emission  of injurious chemicals and impurities , it also play its role in the protection of ecosystems.

Cost-effective and Environmentally Friendly:

Biodegradation could be favourable in waste management and pollution reduction by both economically and environmentally. It is a natural healthy process for the environment and uses lesser resources and energy than various other techniques used for water treatment.

The biodegradable polymer

Polymers showing the phenomenon of biodegradation are given below:

  • Polylactic Acid
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates
  • Polybutylene Succinate
  • Polyethylene Oxide
  • Polyglycolic Acid

Poly lactic Acid (PLA):

It is a polymer made up from renewable resources such as

  • Cornstarch
  • sugar cane
  • and cassava.

It is usually available for

  • Packaging
  • disposable tableware
  • and 3D printing.

Poly hydroxyalkanoates (PHAs):

PHAs are a variety of biodegradable polymers formed by bacteria. They are helpful in

  • Packaging
  • disposable tableware
  • and medical implants.

Polybutylene Succinate (PBS):

PBS is a polymer which can effortlessly undergo a biodegradation process and used in

  • packaging
  • and textiles.

Polyethylene Oxide (PEO):

PEO is consumed in

  • Cosmetics
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • and wastewater treatment.

And can easily undergo in biodegradation process.

Polyglycolic Acid (PGA):

PGA is a polymer which is easily break down into pieces and used in

  • medical sutures
  • and tissue engineering.