Can Chemical Composition of Plastic be Determined with Colour Measurement?

Reviewed by Anurag Mishra (Sr. Technical Consultant)

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I am very sceptical about the usage of plastic utensils in my daily life. With the articles floating talking about the consequences of using plastic utensils make me more conscious about their usage. On the other hand, food grade plastics and virgin plastic manufacturers claim that they are fit to use in prescribed temperature and conditions. What worth noticing here is that, if product safety guidelines are being followed, there is no harm in using good quality plastic? Every time, a piece is recycled it loses some of its properties. Recycled plastic can never be food grade. Upon heating, it may start losing its molecules which get mixed into food items.

So, how to adjudge a good plastic?

You definitely cannot tell the composition of plastic with naked eyes. You might have to perform some tests. To sieve out the hazardous chemicals, it is important to first identify them. Advanced technologies are being used to develop devices like portable spectrophotometers. We are still in the beginning phase of the development of such technologies. However, there are many high-end devices that use UV rays to determine the hazardous toxins in the composition.

Plastic is used extensively due to its super good qualities like durability, high resistance to water and moisture and flexibility. The more you make people aware of the disadvantages of plastic, the more they tend to abandon the product without proper decomposition. So, here the major concern is that we should be well educated and well equipped about differentiating between good and bad plastic.

Processing of plastic waste is a huge problem which not only affects the human health but also makes our environment toxic. This is why organisations emphasise on recycling. But first, determine the good plastic which makes sure that our recycling efforts are not going waste. However, the spectral analysis is still growing to deliver satisfactory results, but it is a good start that some portable spectrophotometers are making it possible.

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