Project CBPM – Home compostable / Soil degradable PLA

Projectnummer
DFI-LWV19199

Missie
A. Kringlooplandbouw

MMIP primair
A3. Hergebruik organische zij- en reststromen

MMIP secundair

Startdatum project
01-01-2019

Einddatum project
31-12-2022

Projectleider
Maarten van der Zee

Website
Improve PLA biodegradation in soil and under home-composting conditions – WUR

Status project
Lopend – loopt op schema

Samenvatting project
This project investigates the most suitable approaches to enhance the biodegradation of PLA in soil and under home-composting conditions.
During the past decades, polylactic acid (PLA) has become one of the most mature biobased and biodegradable polymers which is reflected by its increasing production volume. This increase is attributed to a combination of the facile and relatively cheap production process and the interesting physical properties of PLA. Furthermore, it is biodegradable under industrial composting and thermophilic anaerobic conditions. Its application could be greatly expanded if PLA could be made intrinsically degradable in soil or under home-composting conditions.
This project will study multiple routes of material modification that are expected to enhance the level of biodegradation in PLA. Three strategies are pursued to initiate the degradation of PLA in soil and under home-composting conditions being i) enzymatic catalysis, ii) blends with other biodegradable polymers and iii) the use of prodegradants. Based on theoretical and experimental assessments, the most promising routes will be coupled to specific applications in the area of agriculture and food packaging, such as teabags and coffee pads, plant pots, and foamed products.

Doel van het project
This project contributes to the MMIP A3: re-use of organic waste and side streams, and in particular to sub-programme 4 ‘Valorisation for replacement of fossil feedstock’ through the ‘development of concepts for the total use of agricultural waste and side streams into food, feed and non-food applications’. The project will contribute to this MMIP by expanding the application of polylactide being one of the most mature biobased polymers able to replace fossil based plastics.

Relatie met missie/motivatie
During the past decades polylactic acid (PLA) has become one of the most mature biobased and biodegradable polymers which is reflected by its increasing production volume. This increase is attributed to a combination of the facile and relatively cheap production process and the interesting physical properties of PLA. Its application could be greatly expanded if PLA could be made intrinsically degradable in soil or under home-composting conditions thereby increasing the replacement of currently used fossil based biodegradable plastics.

Geplande resultaten
• A detailed report on the fundamental effects of various approaches of PLA modification the level of biodegradation.
• A proof of concept of a PLA based plant pot that degrades within 1 year after placement in soil.
• A proof of concept of a PLA based fibre for use in tea bags that degrades under home composting conditions.
• A proof of concept of a PLA based foam that degrades under home composting and/or soil degradable conditions.
• A proof of concept of a soil degradable starch/PLA blend.
• A report describing the home composting and/or soil degradation profiles of 3 to 6 compounds developed in this project.
• Patent applications when applicable.
• Dissemination of project results in peer-reviewed journals.

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