Characterization of plastic beach debris finalized to its removal: a proposal for a recycling scheme
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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.
KeywordsPlastic debris Marine pollution Polymer characterization Plastic recycling Environmental management
The two anonymous reviewers have improved the first draft of the manuscript, providing useful comments and suggestions.
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