Bioplastics in the Environment II

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 5318

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Environmental Engineering, Democritus University of Thrace, Kimmeria Campus, GR 671 32 Xanthi, Greece
Interests: municipal solid waste management; composting; biorefining of solid waste; life cycle analysis
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Guest Editor
Sustainable Plastics Research Group (SPlasH), Brunel University London, Uxbridge UB8 3PH, UK
Interests: solid recovered fuels; quality control; combustion; solid waste management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Bioplastics have recently begun to form a big part of our everyday life as consumers and are expected to continue to do so at an exponential rate following various key legislations around the world imposing a ban on several types of conventional plastics (e.g., Directive 2019/904/EU, ban of nondegradable plastics in China by the end of 2022). Bioplastics is a generic term that is often confused with biodegradable plastics. A bioplastic may be biobased, but not biodegradable, whilst there are cases of petrochemical (conventional) plastics that can be biodegradable. Most research on the biodegradability of bioplastics has dealt with aerobic (composting) environments; as a result, the term “compostable” differs from the term “biodegradable”. A lot of standards (ASTM, CEN, ISO) exist on how to assess the biodegradability of bioplastics, primarily under aerobic environments. In addition, new bioplastics are manufactured every year with the goal to make them readily degradable and durable, as conventional plastics, and to keep their cost relatively low and comparable to that of petrochemical plastics—something which is not yet the case, as the latter still remain less expensive. The valorization of organic wastes to manufacture novel bioplastics is gaining a lot of attention, too. In some countries, the use of biodegradable plastics is mandatory during the separate collection of biowaste. How biodegradable are those bioplastics, however? Can they be only degraded, and how fast, and what can be their impact on the recycling of conventional plastics if accidentally mixed with them?

The goal of this Special Issue is to tackle some of the above issues in order to highlight the role of bioplastics under a circular economy framework. This SI therefore welcomes manuscripts on the following topics as regards bioplastics:

  • Biodegradable vs. compostable vs. oxodegradable bioplastics;
  • Conversion of organic wastes to bioplastics;
  • Other novel materials to manufacture bioplastics;
  • Aerobic and anaerobic biodegradability;
  • Gaps in existing standards to assess their biodegradability;
  • Compostable bioplastics at the industrial scale;
  • Chemical recycling;
  • Impact of bioplastics on the recycling of conventional plastics;
  • Indexes to assess their biodegradation;
  • Economics of their production and use;
  • Life cycle analyses and carbon footprint of their production and use;
  • Microplastics generated from bioplastics;
  • Bioplastics in marine environments.

Dr. Dimitrios Komilis
Dr. Spyridoula Gerassimidou
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • bioplastics
  • biodegradable plastics
  • biobased plastics
  • oxodegradable plastics
  • compostable plastics
  • economics
  • life cycle analysis
  • microplastics
  • marine environments
  • waste valorization

Published Papers (2 papers)

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11 pages, 1630 KiB  
Article
Ecotoxicity of Single-Use Plastics to Earthworms
by Teresa Rodríguez, Dana Represas and Emilio V. Carral
Environments 2023, 10(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10030041 - 27 Feb 2023
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Abstract
The excessive use of plastics in recent years, especially so-called single-use plastics, has led to an incipient increase in the presence of this material in the soil. As soil is the essential production factor in agriculture, this study aims to test the toxicity [...] Read more.
The excessive use of plastics in recent years, especially so-called single-use plastics, has led to an incipient increase in the presence of this material in the soil. As soil is the essential production factor in agriculture, this study aims to test the toxicity to earthworms of different concentrations of plastics using the same substrate for each sample. Earthworms are the main bioindicator of soil quality and are of particular ecological value because their disappearance or loss in population would have disastrous consequences for the environment. This study examines the growth, mortality and reproductive cycle of individual earthworms. The species to be studied is Eisenia fetida and during the test, individuals are immersed in five different concentrations: 1 mg/kg; 10 mg/kg; 100 mg/kg; 1000 mg/kg; and 2000 mg/kg. Bioplastic OK industrial compost (that meet the requirements established to comply with compostability according to EN 13432) was used. Whether the plastic in any of those concentrations is harmful to the worm population was then be checked. The test shows the mixture of PLA and PBAT (biodegradable plastic) studied has no significant effect on the population of Eisenia fetida. None of the variables studied yields significant data on this plastic and the effect it causes on the population of earthworms, Eisenia fetida. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioplastics in the Environment II)
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12 pages, 14380 KiB  
Brief Report
Insights into Seawater Biodegradation of Sustainable Mater-Bi/Poly(ε-caprolactone)-Based Biocomposites Filled with Diisocyanate-Modified Cellulose Particles
by Aleksander Hejna, Paulina Kosmela, Olga Mysiukiewicz and Mateusz Barczewski
Environments 2023, 10(5), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10050090 - 22 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1805
Abstract
Due to rapid economic growth, the use of plastics in almost all areas of human life has significantly increased over recent decades, leading to massive pollution. Therefore, works dealing with sustainable and biodegradable polymer materials are vital now. Herein, sustainable Mater-Bi/poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)-based biocomposites, [...] Read more.
Due to rapid economic growth, the use of plastics in almost all areas of human life has significantly increased over recent decades, leading to massive pollution. Therefore, works dealing with sustainable and biodegradable polymer materials are vital now. Herein, sustainable Mater-Bi/poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL)-based biocomposites, filled with diisocyanate-modified cellulose particles, were prepared and subjected to 12-week seawater degradation. Changes in the chemical structure and surface wettability pointed to the increasing hydrophilicity of materials over time, which was limited by diisocyanate modifications. Only minor changes in the thermal performance of analyzed materials have been observed, pointing to the limited biodegradation of the PCL phase. The most significant effects have been related to the composite yellowing due to the filler diisocyanate modifications and surface erosion increasing its roughness. Obtained results pointing to the low degradation rate bring into question the commonly-regarded biodegradable nature of PCL material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioplastics in the Environment II)
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