Environmental impact assessment of bioplastics production from agricultural crop residues

Citation:
Samer, Mohamed, et al. "Environmental impact assessment of bioplastics production from agricultural crop residues." 24.3 (2022): 815-827. copy at www.tinyurl.com/2yr948cy

Abstract:

Bioplastics are alternatives of conventional petroleum-based plastics. Bioplastics are polymers processed from renewable sources and are biodegradable. This study aims at conducting an environmental impact assessment of the bioprocessing of agricultural wastes into bioplastics compared to petro-plastics using an LCA approach. Bioplastics were produced from potato peels in laboratory. In a biochemical reaction under heating, starch was extracted from peels and glycerin, vinegar and water were added with a range of different ratios, which resulted in producing different samples of bio-based plastics. Nevertheless, the environmental impact of the bioplastics production process was evaluated and compared to petro-plastics. A life cycle analysis of bioplastics produced in laboratory and petro-plastics was conducted. The results are presented in the form of global warming potential, and other environmental impacts including acidification potential, eutrophication potential, freshwater ecotoxicity potential, human toxicity potential, and ozone layer depletion of producing bioplastics are compared to petro-plastics. The results show that the greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, through the different experiments to produce bioplastics, range between 0.354 and 0.623 kg CO2 eq. per kg bioplastic compared to 2.37 kg CO2 eq. per kg polypropylene as a petro-plastic. The results also showed that there are no significant potential effects for the bioplastics produced from potato peels on different environmental impacts in comparison with poly-β-hydroxybutyric acid and polypropylene. Thus, the bioplastics produced from agricultural wastes can be manufactured in industrial scale to reduce the dependence on petroleum-based plastics. This in turn will mitigate GHG emissions and reduce the negative environmental impacts on climate change.

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