Generally, it takes many decades for plastics to degrade in the environment. Plastics degrade by oxidation and hydrolysis. Oxidation and hydrolysis are accelerated by heat and sunlight. Chemicals can be added to the plastic to accelerate the rate of degradation. Some plastics are designed to degrade rapidly in the environment. For example, plastic 6-pack loop carriers, are manufactured using ethylene-carbon monoxide (ECO) copolymer. The ethylene-CO bonds rapidly break down, causing the plastic loops to become brittle and disintegrate into small fragments when exposed to sunlight.
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