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Evaluation of Biodegradability of Polylactic Acid and Compostable Bags from Food Waste under Industrial Composting

To reduce plastic pollution, biodegradable plastics have been introduced to the market to replace petroleum-based plastics. This work investigates the biodegradation/disintegration of pure poly-L-lactic acid (PLLAB2B), composed of food waste (FW), and PLLAB2B bags, under industrial composting conditions, in order to determine whether they are compostable and to examine compost quality. In order to study the biodegradation, pure PLLAB2B was degraded in laboratory conditions and bag samples were put into simulation systems using windrow technology. Phytotoxicity tests were carried out for every compost sample and high germination values were found (97–103.8%). The pure PLLA reached an average biodegradation value of 100.2 ± 3.7% and a disintegration value of 100.0 ± 0.0%, resulting in biodegradable mature compost. After a seven week composting trial, the bag samples had fully decomposed. The samples had no influence on compost characteristics and there were no visually perceptible changes to the compost. Therefore, we suggest that food waste bioplastic can be used as a potential eco-material for compostable bags, one which could be used in industrial composting units and which offers degradable active materials with low environmental impact.

Publication date: 15/11/2023

Author: Angeliki Maragkaki

Reference: doi: 10.3390/su152215963

MDPI (sustainability)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.