Occurrence and recovery of small-sized plastic debris from a Brazilian beach: characterization, recycling, and mechanical analysis
Small-sized plastic debris are an increasing global concern, particularly in environmental protected areas. Consequently, tourism-based economy of poor coastal regions is also impaired. Nevertheless, little interest has been shown about recycling approaches of such materials, mostly because of the natural degradation of polymers on these conditions. This research presents the report of the occurrence of plastic debris nearby Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, on the northeast Brazilian coast, aiming to provide a feasible method for recycling. We collected more than 80 samples from the sediment and classified them via FT-IR. Degraded polypropylene samples were selected for blending with virgin material using different concentration rates, and were mechanically tested. Tensile testing results suggest that 5% recycled material concentration mixture has suitable mechanical properties on the elastic regime for applications on new parts. Our findings show that particular interest should be addressed on the recovery of commodity plastic debris from environmental protected areas.