Effect of Abiotic Treatments on Agricultural Plastic Waste: Efficiency of the Degradation Processes

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Title: Effect of Abiotic Treatments on Agricultural Plastic Waste: Efficiency of the Degradation Processes
Authors: Blesa Marco, Zbigniew Emil | Sáez-Tovar, José Antonio | Andreu-Rodríguez, Javier | Peñalver, Rosa | Rodríguez Pastor, Manuel | Eissenberger, Kristina | Cinelli, Patrizia | Bustamante, María A. | Moral, Raúl
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ingeniería Química
Keywords: Agri-food waste plastic | Polystyrene | Polyethylene terephthalate | Linear low density of polyethylene | Low density polyethylene | Thermal analyses | FTIR | E-beam
Issue Date: 29-Jan-2024
Publisher: MDPI
Citation: Polymers. 2024, 16(3): 359. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16030359
Abstract: In this study, four different plastic materials usually used in the agricultural sector (polystyrene film (PS), polyethylene terephthalate film (PET), low-density polyethylene film (LDPE) and linear low-density polyethylene film (LLDPE)) were subjected to different abiotic treatments, including photo-oxidation (ultraviolet and e-beam radiation) and thermochemical treatments, to enhance polymer degradation. The extensive use of these polymers leads to large amounts of plastic waste generation, including small plastic pieces, known as microplastics, which affect the quality of the agricultural environment, including soil fertility and quality. Therefore, polymer degradation strategies are needed to effectively reduce plastic waste to protect the agricultural sector. The degree of polymer degradation was assessed by the use of thermal and spectroscopic analyses, such as TGA and FTIR. In addition, efficiency, cost–benefits, and potential side-effects were also evaluated to propose the optimal degradation strategy to reduce plastic waste from the point of view of efficiency. The results obtained showed that the pre-treatments based on photo-oxidation (ultraviolet B and C and e-beam radiation) were more efficient and had a better cost–benefit for the degradation of the polymers studied in relation to the thermochemical treatments. Specifically, ultraviolet photo-oxidation worked well for PS and PET, requiring low energy and medium times. However, e-beam radiation was recommended for PE (LDPE and LLDPE) degradation, since high energy and long times were needed when ultraviolet energy was applied to this polymer. Furthermore, the overall efficiency of the plastic degradation of pre-treatments should be studied using a multicriteria approach, since FTIR assessments, in some cases, only consider oxidation processes on the plastic surface and do not show the potential integrity changes on the plastic probes.
Sponsor: This research was funded by the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 887648—RECOVER project. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and the Bio-based Industries Consortium. The authors also wish to acknowledge Grant EQC2018-004170-P, funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and by ERDF: A way of making Europe.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/140409
ISSN: 2073-4360
DOI: 10.3390/polym16030359
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2024 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/polym16030359
Appears in Collections:Personal Investigador sin Adscripción a Grupo
Research funded by the EU

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