The Specific Chemical Structure That Makes Plastic So Strong But Impossible to Biodegrade

Emily Elert from Minute Earth offered a quick explanation of the specific carbon-carbon chemical structure that makes plastic products so strong and useful, but also impossible to completely biodegrade. Alternatives to this specific chemical structure are currently being developed, but have some drawbacks including price and stability.

Scientists are noodling around for a way to create less permanent plastics. New versions such as polylactide are still made up of repeating chemical units but instead of those everlasting carbon-carbon bonds the chains are held together by different types of links like carbon oxygen bonds which can be easily cut even by water and the resulting bits can ultimately be digested by bacteria

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.