BIODEGRADATION OF PLASTIC COMPOST BAGS UNDER CONTROLLED SOIL CONDITIONS
Orhan,a Jasna Hrenoviĉ,b and Hanife Büyükgüngöra
a Ondokuz Mayis University, Engineering Faculty, Environmental Engineering Department, 55139 Samsun, Turkey
b University of Zagreb, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Rooseveltov trg 6, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
A degradation of compost bags strips made of supposedly degradable polyethylene and nondegradable low density and high density polyethylene were evaluated in soil mixed with 50% (w/w) mature municipal solid waste compost supplied from municipal refuse. Plastic films were buried during 15 months at room temperature in 2 L desiccator jars containing soil adjusted to 40% of maximum water holding capacity. Degradation of plastics was determined by the weight loss of sample, tensile strength, carbon dioxide production, chemical changes measured in infrared spectrum and bacterial activity in soil. The examined films can be ranged in order of decreasing susceptibility: degradable polyethylene >>> low density polyethylene > high density polyethylene.
Key words: biodegradation, compost bags, polyethylene