Microplastics and chlorinated phenols (CPs) are pollutants found ubiquitously in freshwater systems. Meanwhile, bioplastics are attracting much attention as alternatives to conventional plastics, but there is little data about their effect on the behaviour of pollutants. This work therefore investigates the sorption of four CPs (4-chlorophenol—4-CP, 2,4-dichlorophenol—2,4-DCP, 2,4,6-trichlorophenol—2,4,6-TCP and pentachlorophenol—PCP) on three different plastics (polyethylene (PЕg), polypropylene (PP) and polylactic acid (PLA)) using kinetics and isotherm studies. All experiments were carried out in a synthetic water matrix and in spiked Danube river water. In all cases, adsorption kinetics fitted well with the pseudo-second order rate model. Adsorption proceeded through two linear phases, corresponding to transport from the bulk solution to the external surfaces and then into the interior pores of the sorbents. Maximum adsorption capacities calculated with the Langmuir isotherm indicated that whereas adsorption of 4-CP was not significantly affected by the type of plastic present, the adsorption of 2,4-DCP, 2,4,6-TCP and PCP varied greatly, with polypropylene showing the greatest affinity for CPs adsorption. The differences observed between the adsorption behaviour of CPs in the synthetic and natural water matrices suggest further investigation is required into how the different fractions of natural organic matter impact interactions between CPs and plastics.
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