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Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 53–62 | Cite as

Biodegradation of Bloodmeal-Based Thermoplastics in Green-Waste Composting

  • Casparus J. R. Verbeek
  • Talia Hicks
  • Alan Langdon
Original Paper

Abstract

Polymers that are compostable and manufactured from renewable resources have gained significant importance in recent years. The objective of this work was to assess the biodegradability of bloodmeal-based thermoplastics in a commercial green-waste composting situation. Materials plasticised with tri-ethylene–glycol lost about 45% of their original mass after 12 weeks composting while unplasticised samples lost 35%. Degradation appeared to have been in two phases; an initial loss of soluble, low molecular compounds in the mesophilic phase followed by degradation of high molecular compounds as the temperature exceeded about 40 °C in the thermophilic phase. It was found that as degradation proceeded materials became more soluble. In addition, plasticised and unplasticized samples contained about 60 wt% moisture after 4 weeks of composting conditioning at 50% relative humidity resulted in approximately 8–10 wt% moisture, unaffected by the extent of degradation. FTIR revealed that proteins underwent hydrolytic cleavage resulting in the formation of primary amines. A significant reduction in combustion temperature was observed, indicative of a reduction in covalent bonding, likely due to shorter chains lengths or less cross-linking.

Keywords

Bloodmeal Compositing Thermoplastic 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Casparus J. R. Verbeek
    • 1
  • Talia Hicks
    • 1
  • Alan Langdon
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EngineeringUniversity of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand

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