Synthetic plastics as polyethylene do not decompose when disposed of in landfills and can cause air pollution problems if burned. An efficient, safe, and economical method for the disposal of wastes as polyethylene is needed. A feasibility study directed toward these objectives and designed to determine the applicability of selected approaches to the problem of polyethylene disposal has been conducted. Particular attention was given to chemical methods of modifying the polyolefin and the effects of the treatments on the mechanical, thermal, and biological properties of the polymer. One of the methods discussed that has appeared particularly attractive involves the oxidative degradation and concomitant nitration of polyethylene by exposure to red fuming nitric acid, or binary systems including HNO3, as a constituent.