22 Pages

Studies on the Environmental Degradation of Starch-Based Plastics

WithGene Iannotti, Nancy Fair, Mike Tempesta, Howard Neibling, Fu Hung Hsieh, Rick Mueller

This chapter suggests that disintegration of starch-based plastics will occur in properly managed landfills, soil, and anaerobic waste systems. As degradable plastics have become more widely publicized, questions have been raised by environmental and consumer groups about the effects the degrading products will have on soil and ground water. The aerobic refuse burial was carried out with relatively heavy organic loads with the composition of municipal solid waste excluding metal and glass. The plastic sheets were buried as prescribed by American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) methodology. Temperature is a critical factor in both the biological activity of an environment and the rate of reactions catalyzed by pro-oxidants. The studies were designed to ascertain the effects of granular starch addition alone on the degradability of plastic films. The addition of starch produced a significant reduction in breaking strength, elongation, and energy to break.