Characterization of plastic beach debris finalized to its removal: a proposal for a recycling scheme

  • Loris Pietrelli
  • Gianluca Poeta
  • Corrado Battisti
  • Maria Sighicelli
Short Research and Discussion Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11356-017-9440-4

Cite this article as:
Pietrelli, L., Poeta, G., Battisti, C. et al. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2017). doi:10.1007/s11356-017-9440-4

Abstract

Characterization of beach debris is crucial to assess the strategy to answer questions such as recycling. With the aim to assess its use in a recycling scheme, in this note, we carried out a physical and chemical characterization of plastic litter from a pilot beach in Central Italy, using the FT-IR spectroscopy and thermoanalysis. Fourteen polymers, having mainly thermoplastic origin, were identified; among them, the most represented are polyethylene (41.7%) and polypropylene (36.9%). Chemical and mechanical degradation were clearly observed by an IR spectrum. The thermogravimetric analysis curve of the plastic blend shows the melting point at 120–140 °C, and degradation occurs almost totally in a one-step process within 300–500 °C. The high heating value of the plastic debris is 43.9 MJ kg−1. Polymer blends obtained by beach debris show mechanical properties similar to the virgin high-density polyethylene polymer. Following the beach plastic debris characterization, a recycling scheme was suggested.

Keywords

Plastic debris Marine pollution Polymer characterization Plastic recycling Environmental management 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loris Pietrelli
    • 1
  • Gianluca Poeta
    • 2
  • Corrado Battisti
    • 3
  • Maria Sighicelli
    • 1
  1. 1.ENEA, CR CasacciaRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of ScienceUniversità degli studi Roma IIIRomeItaly
  3. 3.‘Torre Flavia’ LTER (Long Term Ecological Research), Protected Areas–Regional Park ServiceRomeItaly

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