, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 127-141

Degradation of starch-plastic composites in a municipal solid waste landfill

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The rate and extent of deterioration of starch-plastic composites were determined over a 2-year period for samples buried in a municipal solid waste landfill. The deterioration of the starch-plastic composites following exposure was determined by measuring changes in tensile properties, weight loss, and starch content of samples retrieved from the landfill. Elongation decreases of 92 and 44% were measured for starch-plastic composite LDPE and LLDPE films, respectively, while elongation decreases of 54 and 21% were measured for their corresponding control films following 2 years of burial. Starch loss of 25% for LLDPE and 33% for LDPE starch-plastic composite films was measured following 2 years of landfill burial. Starch-plastic composites did not fragment or lose mass during the 2-year landfill burial. The limited degradation observed for the starch-plastic composites was attributed to the ineffectiveness of the prooxidant additive to catalyze the thermal oxidation of the polyethylene or polypropylene component of the starch-plastic composite under the environmental conditions present within the landfill.