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Editor in Chief: RAFFAELLO COSSU

COMPOSTING OF STARCH-BASED BIOPLASTIC BAGS: SMALL SCALE TEST OF DEGRADATION AND SIZE REDUCTION TREND

  • Maria Cristina Lavagnolo - DICEA, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Padova, Italy
  • Federica Ruggero - DICEA, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Firenze, Italy
  • Alberto Pivato - DICEA, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Padova, Italy
  • Carlo Boaretti - DII, Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Padova, Italy
  • Alessandro Chiumenti - Department of Agricultural, Food, Animal and Environmental Sciences (DI4A), University of Udine, Italy

DOI 10.31025/2611-4135/2020.14008

Released under CC BY-NC-ND

Copyright: © 2020 CISA Publisher

Editorial History

  • Received: 11 May 2020
  • Revised: 06 Aug 2020
  • Accepted: 24 Aug 2020
  • Available online: 30 Sep 2020

Abstract

In Italy, the majority of bioplastic bags used in food waste collection is made of starch-based biopolymer. The compostability of this material in a full-scale plant remains to be demonstrated, largely due to the fact that bioplastic bags are screened and removed together with conventional plastic bags during pre-treatment steps. The present research was performed on a small scale to study the degradation of starch-based bioplastics during composting. Evolution of the physical and chemical parameters of the material was evaluated by means of Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR), experimental mass loss and granulometric trend. The results obtained suggested that fragmentation (physical size reduction of the material) occurred mainly during the thermophilic phase, while biodegradation (breakdown by microorganisms of an organic chemical into simpler, innocuous compounds) occurred during the curing phase. Based on the monitored parameters (TS, VS, pH, C/N and RI4), the composting process of the waste matrix ended after 55 days, but the degradation of bioplastics failed to achieve the regulatory standards for assessment of compostability (≤ 10% sized > 2 mm). Experimental data revealed a linear trend for the fragmentation process and a duration of 100 days would be required to meet regulatory requirements.

Keywords


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