In the oilfield a wide variety of polymers and polymeric chemistry are used to provide chemical solutions to a wide variety of issues. This chapter explores a number of types of polymer and their derivatives. The petroleum industry uses and consumes a vast array of oligomer/polymer products, many of which are used in chemical additives and as polymers in solution. The other main type of polymer used is a solid‐state polymer, such as engineering materials. The chapter gives a brief overview of their use and environmental acceptability and impact. It examines the various mechanisms of polymer degradation and focuses on how such degradation pathways, again especially biodegradation pathways, affect the environmental fate of the polymer additive. In achieving a more sustainable approach to the extraction and exploitation of oil and gas resources, it is necessary to consider that the reuse and recycling of all materials and polymers are no exception.