Field Exposure Study of Polylactic Acid (PLA) Plastic Films in the Banana Fields of Costa Rica
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For use by the banana industry of Costa Rica, polylactic acid (PLA) plastic ropes and banana finger shrouds must remain operational for 14 to 16 weeks, and they also must be able to break down in the soil after serving their purposes. The banana field at La Rebusca Farm (Costa Rica) and the experiment station at University of Costa Rica were selected for a field exposure study of Cargill EcoPla Generation II (GII) and Cargill EcoPla monolayer (Ca-I) PLA films. The average monthly temperature, relative humidity, and cumulative rainfall of the La Rebusca Farm and the University of Costa Rica site were 26 and 22°C, 92 and 84%, and 352 and 177 in., respectively. The PLA plastic films at the La Rebusca Farm lost their mechanical properties earlier than at the University of Costa Rica site because of the higher temperature and relative humidity of the banana farm. The Ca-I film meets the 14-week operational time frame and it is recommended for further studies as ropes and banana shrouds.
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