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Novara di Sicilia, Italy

Razza F.,Novamont | Innocenti F.D.,Novamont | Dobon A.,Transport and Logistics Research Center | Aliaga C.,Transport and Logistics Research Center | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Cleaner Production | Year: 2015

Post-consumer cushioning packaging waste made from expanded polystyrene or other conventional polymers is rarely recycled because of technical and economic constraints. Expanded packaging can also be made from renewable and biodegradable raw materials. In this case, the use of a renewable feedstock, such as starch, can reduce the oil dependence and biodegradability can enable the organic recycling of the final product. In this study, a life cycle assessment was performed on a prototype (a port-hole spacer for washing machines) developed in a research project by applying a biodegradable plastic expanded by means of microwave technology. Port-hole spacers for washing machines are mainly made from expanded polystyrene. Life cycle assessment results indicate that the prototype is characterized by a lower consumption of non-renewable energy resources (-50%) and lower greenhouse gas emissions (-60%) compared to the benchmark (expanded polystyrene packaging). This was mainly due to the use of a renewable feedstock (starch). The photochemical ozone creation potential resulted significantly lower (-90%) thanks to the abolition of the expanding agent (i.e. pentane) used in the polystyrene expansion process. The robustness of the results was assessed through data quality checks and a Monte Carlo simulation. A sensitivity analysis showed that the environmental profile of the prototype is mainly affected by the Land Use Change for global warming potential and by the type of starch used for eutrophication and acidification. The type of electricity used (i.e. fossil-based or renewable) for the microwave expansion process also affects the results. The use of biodegradable packaging makes it possible to increase the level of recovery by means of organic recycling. Considering the organic recycling rate in the countries where the washing machines are supplied it has been estimated that the cushioning packaging waste that goes to landfill would go from 52% (current scenario with expanded polystyrene packaging) to 37%, whereas recycling would go from 0.5% (mechanical recycling of expanded polystyrene) to 40% (organic recycling of the prototype). This paper shows that the use of a packaging system potentially suitable for inclusion in the industrial composting process opens new routes for waste treatment, thus increasing diversion from landfill. It can be argued that the combination of the use of renewable resources, and the possibility to get a compostable packaging product give rise to interesting future outlook. On one site a reduction of oil dependence can be achieved and, on the other side, the diffusion of packaging products not easy to recycle as post-consume waste and characterized by a very long persistence in the environment is reduced. This paper contributes to the current discussion on the benefits of bio-based and bio-degradable materials, whose production volumes are steadily increasing. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Razza F.,Novamont | Innocenti F.D.,Novamont
Asia-Pacific Journal of Chemical Engineering | Year: 2012

Bioplastics made with renewable resources are now ready for full commercial exploitation. Starch-based plastics are an important class of bioplastics used to make biodegradable products. Biodegradability can contribute to alleviating the waste problem of our current society. In this paper, three case studies based on the use of starch-based plastics are shown. Biodegradable products can both reduce the amount of waste produced and increase material recycling and landfill diversion. The products analysed and the main effects of shifting towards biodegradable plastics are examined next. By using biodegradable mulch film, waste passes from 400 up to ≈ 0 kg per mulched hectare. By using biodegradable catering items, the average recycling (including organic recycling) rate increases from ≈ 0 up to 50% whereas landfill diversion increases by 36% on average across EU-27. By shifting towards biodegradable carrier bags, a substantial reduction of contaminants present in bio-waste and screened off by composting plants results in an almost fivefold increase of bio-waste quality. The possibility of shifting from heterogeneous waste (non-biodegradable plastics + bio-waste) into homogeneous waste (biodegradable plastics + bio-waste) makes the use of bioplastics particularly beneficial for the waste management ecoprofile as shown by previous life cycle assessment studies available in literature. © 2012 Curtin University of Technology and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source


Bastioli C.,Novamont | Magistrali P.,Novamont | Gesti Garcia S.,Novamont
ACS Symposium Series | Year: 2012

This chapter reviews the main topics related to starch in polymers technology taking into account all the different forms in which starch can appear (native, gelatinized, retrograded, destructurized, complexed) giving more details for those which are related to starch-based polymers. Without intention of a whole starch treaty, authors' desire was to disclose the large variety of starch forms and their use in polymers technology in order to give a wide basic knowledge of this topic, giving an instrument for further in-depth studies to the reader. © 2012 American Chemical Society. Source

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