Biodegradable polymers: a cure for the planet, but a long way to go

Abstract

Nowadays, vigorously researching and developing biodegradable materials is an effective way to solve the problem of white pollution. As far as we know, systematic research in environmental compatibility of biodegradable polymers has not been reported. Furthermore, there are few tangible products in the relevant frontier fields that really benefit consumers. The research and development of biodegradable materials still has a long way to go, which is mainly manifested in its low consumption nowadays and the series of degradation effects all may adding burden to the current environment. Combined with the current background, this work reviewed the general classification and the application of typical biodegradable polymers, providing readers an intuitive and systematic understanding of biodegradable polymers. Moreover, we analyzed some shortcomings of the recent research, and briefly proposed some development directions and solutions to the main existed problems, namely, cost control, in-depth development of functions and applications, materials source extension, enhancement of environmental protection awareness and regulations, and systematical assessment of environmental compatibility of the biodegradable polymers.

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Correspondence to Guang-Zhong Yin.

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Yin, G., Yang, X. Biodegradable polymers: a cure for the planet, but a long way to go. J Polym Res 27, 38 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10965-020-2004-1

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Keywords

  • Biodegradable polymers
  • Aliphatic polyesters
  • Natural macromolecules
  • Environmental protection
  • White pollution