ASTM Plastics Committee Approves New Standard for Testing Polymer Degradation Rates in Marine Environment

An ongoing study of biodegradation rates of polymers has led to the development of a new ASTM International standard, ASTM D7473, Test Method for Weight Attrition of Plastic Materials in the Marine Environment by Open System Aquarium Incubations. Primary users of ASTM D7473 will be companies that make biodegradable polymers or items that will be disposed at sea.

The new standard is the result of a joint study between the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on the biodegradation rates of polymers. The study also received support from the U.S. Navy Waste Reduction Afloat Protects the Sea program.

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