Triggered Degradation of Cellulose Acetate
The accumulation of huge piles of plastic waste in landfills and natural environments, especially in the sea and coastal regions, is one of the largest environmental concerns facing us. The very slow degradation of plastic waste under natural environmental conditions calls for an immediate action. However, there is no one solution that can take care of the whole plastic waste problem. 3R rule (reduce, reuse and recycle) is an important approach to solve the issue, but some plastic products will still end up in natural environment. High degree of acetylation generally reduces the biodegradability of cellulose acetate. In this work, we demonstrate that incorporation of carbon dots (CD) as simple and green photocatalysts in catalytic amount can trigger deacetylation and thereby faster degradation of cellulose acetate (CA), the most common thermoplastic cellulose derivative, under open environment relevant conditions.