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Article

Decomposition Behavior of Biodegradable and Single-Use Tableware Items in the Warnow Estuary (Baltic Sea)

1
Leibniz-Institute for Baltic Sea Research, 18119 Rostock, Germany
2
Aquatic Ecology, University of Rostock, 18055 Rostock, Germany
3
Marine Research Institute, Klaipeda University, 92294 Klaipeda, Lithuania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Xiaying Xin
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 2544; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052544
Received: 15 January 2022 / Revised: 18 February 2022 / Accepted: 21 February 2022 / Published: 22 February 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Ecological Environment Restoration)
Due to the increasing demand for alternative and supposedly more sustainable single-use tableware compared to conventional fossil-based plastic items, there now exists a broad variety of innovative new bio-based and biodegradable items. The aim of this research is to conduct a monitoring of the biodegradability of selected tableware items: polylactic acid (PLA), crystallized polylactic acid (CPLA), wood, palm leaf, paper/cellulose and sugar cane bagasse, as well as a common fossil-based plastic polystyrene (PS) as a comparative material in a water column, to determine their possible use as a substitute for single-use plastic flatware. In situ experiments were performed over a one-year period to consider changes in water temperature, salinity gradients, pH values and dissolved oxygen (DO). The main findings show that tableware items composed of palm leaf, sugar cane bagasse and paper are less resistant to estuary conditions. However, wood, PLA, CPLA and PS items showed a certain resistance during the experimentation period. Furthermore, items placed in the upper incubators degraded relatively faster than those of the same material but placed in the lower incubators. The results indicate that temperature and exposure to natural light could be an important factor in terms of accelerating the degradation of the materials considered. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodegradability; bio-based tableware; conventional plastic; degradation rate; marine litter; Warnow River estuary biodegradability; bio-based tableware; conventional plastic; degradation rate; marine litter; Warnow River estuary
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MDPI and ACS Style

Baccar Chaabane, A.; Robbe, E.; Schernewski, G.; Schubert, H. Decomposition Behavior of Biodegradable and Single-Use Tableware Items in the Warnow Estuary (Baltic Sea). Sustainability 2022, 14, 2544. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052544

AMA Style

Baccar Chaabane A, Robbe E, Schernewski G, Schubert H. Decomposition Behavior of Biodegradable and Single-Use Tableware Items in the Warnow Estuary (Baltic Sea). Sustainability. 2022; 14(5):2544. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052544

Chicago/Turabian Style

Baccar Chaabane, Amina, Esther Robbe, Gerald Schernewski, and Hendrik Schubert. 2022. "Decomposition Behavior of Biodegradable and Single-Use Tableware Items in the Warnow Estuary (Baltic Sea)" Sustainability 14, no. 5: 2544. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052544

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