Plastic films used for crop protection have reached notable consumption all over Europe, as well as in the rest of the world. This phenomenon however poses a serious environmental problem connected with the impact on the sustainability of agricultural production and relevant plastic footprint. Mechanical recycling of agricultural plastics is a common technique, but limited by many factors, as the loss of mechanical properties of plastic film. This phenomenon, due to its ageing after being exposed to natural weather conditions, plays a crucial role, especially when aggravated by contamination with agrochemicals ordinarily used for crop health and pest management. This article reports the result of some laboratory tests on agricultural plastic film, artificially aged for different periods and contaminated with two different agrochemicals (anti-aphid or fungicide). These results show that the impact of agrochemicals on plastic film is considerable, since it worsens the ageing process of the plastic film, conducting a more rapid reduction in its mechanical properties—mostly, a faster reduction in the elongation at break below 50% of the corresponding value of the virgin plastic film. This phenomenon, other than reducing the working life of the plastic film, gives it a low potential for being transformed into a closed-loop recycled material when entering the recycling stage. The increase in the value of the detected Carbonyl Index (CI) confirms the tendency of the material to degrade rapidly when in contact with agrochemicals, hence indicating that it may be impossible to mechanically recycle it.

Agrochemical Contamination and Ageing Effects on Greenhouse Plastic Film for Recycling

Picuno P.
;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Plastic films used for crop protection have reached notable consumption all over Europe, as well as in the rest of the world. This phenomenon however poses a serious environmental problem connected with the impact on the sustainability of agricultural production and relevant plastic footprint. Mechanical recycling of agricultural plastics is a common technique, but limited by many factors, as the loss of mechanical properties of plastic film. This phenomenon, due to its ageing after being exposed to natural weather conditions, plays a crucial role, especially when aggravated by contamination with agrochemicals ordinarily used for crop health and pest management. This article reports the result of some laboratory tests on agricultural plastic film, artificially aged for different periods and contaminated with two different agrochemicals (anti-aphid or fungicide). These results show that the impact of agrochemicals on plastic film is considerable, since it worsens the ageing process of the plastic film, conducting a more rapid reduction in its mechanical properties—mostly, a faster reduction in the elongation at break below 50% of the corresponding value of the virgin plastic film. This phenomenon, other than reducing the working life of the plastic film, gives it a low potential for being transformed into a closed-loop recycled material when entering the recycling stage. The increase in the value of the detected Carbonyl Index (CI) confirms the tendency of the material to degrade rapidly when in contact with agrochemicals, hence indicating that it may be impossible to mechanically recycle it.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11563/159986
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