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.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 07 June 2017, pp 1–7