Environmental Impact on Biodegradation Speed and Biodegradability of Polyethylene and Zea Mays Starch Blends
 
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1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Covenant University, Cannanland, Ota, 112233, Nigeria
2
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, 220282, Nigeria.
3
Department of Materials Science Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Abiodun Ayodeji Abioye   

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Covenant University, Cannanland, Ota, 112233, Nigeria
Publish date: 2019-10-01
 
J. Ecol. Eng. 2019; 20(9):277–284
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ABSTRACT
Several studies projected that by the year 2025, 4.3 billion urban residents will be generating about 2.2 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste per year, over 10% of which will be plastics. The landfills in Nigeria are uncontrolled and do not conform to the international standards of similar operations elsewhere in the world; this makes the disposal of synthetic polymers in the soil even more hazardous. Due to the availability and relative inexpensiveness of Zea mays in Nigeria, this study explores the use of this natural polymer, blended with low-density polyethylene (LDPE) as an alternative to synthetic plastics. Biodegradability of the biopolymer blend was observed while buried in loamy sand soil with properties similar to the soil found in the general area of the study. The results showed that a polymer blend with 50% LDPE (50 CoS) by weight had the most uniform weight loss over the period of the study. Under the soil conditions given in the study, 50 CoS also had the steadiest rate of degradation. Hence 50% LDPE (wt.%) blended with Zea mays starch is the optimal ratio with regard to the degradability of biopolymer in loamy sand soil Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria.