Life Cycle Analysis of Extruded Films Based on Poly(lactic acid)/Cellulose Nanocrystal/Limonene: A Comparative Study with ATBC Plasticized PLA/OMMT Systems
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Life cycle analysis (LCA) of limonene plasticized poly(lactic acid) (PLA) films containing cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) extracted, by acid hydrolysis, from Phormium tenax leaf fibres, was assessed and compared with the results of acetyl tributyl citrate (ATBC) plasticized PLA films, having equivalent mechanical properties, containing organo-modified montmorillonite (OMMT). Eco-Indicator 99 tool has been adopted as the main method for life cycle assessment. Results indicated that, despite CNC are biobased fillers obtained by natural sources, the related chemical extraction leads to a large environmental footprint and a relatively relevant energy expense. LCA characterization of these films demonstrated that the environmental impact of PLA/limonene film reinforced with 1% in weight of CNC (PLA/CNC/limonene) is comparable to the environmental impact of polylactic acid films reinforced with OMMT and plasticized with a petroleum based plasticizer (ATBC) (PLA/OMTT/ATBC). A “cradle to gate” approach has been considered for both the film typologies.
KeywordsLife cycle assessment Environmental impact Cellulose nanocrystals Poly(lactic acid) Nanocomposites Waste revalorization
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