(56f) Value Added Biodegradable Materials from Industrial Wastes

Authors: 
Misra, M., University of Guelph
Zarrinbakhsh, N., University of Guelph
Mohanty, A. K., University of Guelph
Wang, T., University of Guelph
Rodriguez-Uribe, A., University of Guelph
Vivekanandhan, S., VHNSN College
Biodegradable plastics and composites can be a solution to the plastic waste pollution issue. With regards to practical biodegradability, the term compostability is a standardized way to identify plastics and composites that undergo biodegradation more than 90 % of their weight in a specific time frame; six month. At the Bioproducts Discovery and Development Centre (BDDC), University of Guelph, research is going on to develop compostable composites formulations from biodegradable plastics such as PLA, PBS, etc., and biomass such as agricultural residues, perennial grasses, and industrial co-products/by-products. This approach has two advantages. First, it can create new outlets for the under-valued biomass and bring new revenue to the farmer. Second, it can result in faster biodegradation of the composite in comparison with the neat plastic, as previous studies at the BDDC confirm that. With the compostability in mind, the mechanical and rheological performance of the composite material is an important factor to consider. Green surface treatments of the biomass and the use of processing aids and compatibilizers are effective ways to enhance or keep balanced the properties of the composite material. To date, there is no commercial compatibilizer based on biodegradable plastics. At the BDDC, maleated bioplastic compatibilizers were produced customized towards the bioplastic matrix and successfully utilized for improving the mechanical properties of the compostable composite materials. On the other hand, hybridization of the fillers of different types of biomass was another approach pursued in this study to benefit from different aspects of different fillers at the same time. The amount of compatibilizer and different fillers was optimized to achieve a balance in mechanical and physical properties. The produced compostable composites were successfully certified as 100 % compostable and used in food packaging applications.

Acknowledgements: This research is financially supported by (1) the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)- University of Guelph Bioeconomy Industrial uses Research Program (Project # 200245, 200245);  (2) Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Competitive Green Technologies (CGTech) through AgriInnovation (Program Project # 051909, 051910, 052880); and (3) and the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI), Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence Round - 4 (Program Project # 050231 and 050289).