Ruggero, Federica (2019) Fate of Bioplastics in Composting. [Magistrali biennali]
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Bioplastics now form part of the collective imagination, even though they have been on the market since 1980s. Production of these materials have been growing; the numbers from European Bioplastics show that 1.13 million tons of bioplastics were produced in Europe in 2016, with an increase of 30% forecast by 2021. Bioplastics are an environmentally responsible material, with some uses similar to plastics but a cleaner production: starting from the extraction of renewable resources to the return to earth through waste disposal. The thesis work is focused on end of the production chain, the bioplastic waste treatment, and it rises from the fact that some commonly used bioplastics are biodegradable and compostable, therefore the degradation time is much shorter than the hundreds of years required by plastics, and the certification EN 13432 allows their disposal in composting plants. The object of the thesis work is to investigate the fate of bioplastics during and at the end of the composting process, in order to follow their biodegradation and disintegration up to release into the environment. The experimental part of thesis involves two parallel fields: the composting process, comprehensive of all the analyses carried out to study the evolution of the process, and the methodologies developed to follow the degradation and the disintegration of bioplastics within the composted matrix.
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