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Degradation of polylactide in household composter

Key words:

Biopolymers such as polylactide are increasingly becoming available for use in packaging
applications. The main advantages of polylactide packaging are that they are obtained from
renewable resources and can be degraded in compost or soil. So far, biodegradable polymeric
materials were degraded in industrial composting facilities, in specific and controlled
conditions. The main objective of this study was to investigate if the composting process of
polylactide occurs with equal efficiency in a household as in industrial composters.
Polylactide films, polylactide films covered with SiOx layer and polylactide films with
aluminium layer were selected for the investigation. Films were composted during 80 days in
minced mixture of grass and leaves with addition of biological agent.
Biological agent, which contained selected micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi
accelerating composting of organic waste in households composters. Vaccine was dissolved in
water and then added to the composted mass.
Degradation of the polylactide films was monitored by mass changes, differential scanning
calorimetry (DSC) and microscopic observations of surface structure changes. The results
indicated that biological agent did not accelerate process of biodegradability of polylactide
films. Process occurred with equal efficiency in compost mass without addition of vaccine.

Gdynia Maritime University
Faculty of Entrepreneurship and Quality Science
Department of Chemistry and Industrial Commodity
Morska Str. 83, 81-225 Gdynia, Poland
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