Polymer degradation refers to the loss of a polymer's physical qualities, such as strength, due to changes in its chemical composition. Polymers, particularly plastics, degrade at every stage of their product lifecycle, including manufacturing, usage, disposal, and recycling. The pace of deterioration varies greatly; some commercial techniques can totally dissolve a polymer in hours, while biodegradation can take decades.
Polymer stabilisers are chemical additives that can be added to polymeric materials like plastics to prevent or slow down degradation. Stabilizers can be used to protect plastics. The type of stabiliser required is determined by the environment against which the polymer must be protected (e.g., UV stabilizers, processing stabilizers, and long-term heat stabilizers).