2. I love realism. I don't like plastics - Michael Jackson, 1982
Plastic artefacts will be the most important witnesses to our
time- Biefer and Zgraggen, 1991
1920 1960 2015
3. ▪ what are plastics, chemically speaking?
▪ why do plastics break down and how are
their lifetimes measured?
▪ can research into degradation of heritage
plastics help us better understand plastic
▪ and find solutions?
30. ▪plastic type, colour and environment are significant factors for
rate of degradation
▪degradation in environments:
thermal ageing (70°C) >Danish weather > surface seawater >
under seawater >sediment
▪ PLA, PUR foam,PVC, PE, PS, PET and rubber showed chemical
degradation within 24 months
▪polyurethane sponges least stable
▪polyester and nylon are the most stable
cigarette butts are the greatest source of
plastic pollution in Denmark
ca. 8 million butts on Danish streets daily
it costs 2kr per cigarette butt to clean up!
they contain water-soluble toxins
32. what are cigarette filters?
• filters for particles and tar from tobacco
• cellulose acetate fibres wrapped in a brown
34. cigarette butts exposed to 8 environments
35. all plastics degrade
it is essential to understand the causes
and rates of their degradation
museums are a unique source of
knowledge and experience because we
preserve everything-including plastics!
research into plastics in cultural heritage
can be transferred directly to plastics
36. I am grateful to
for their financial