Biopolymers: Reuse, Recycling, and Disposal

Biopolymers: Reuse, Recycling, and Disposal

1st Edition - June 1, 2013

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  • Author: Michael Niaounakis
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9781455731459
  • eBook ISBN: 9781455731541

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Biopolymers Reuse, Recycling and Disposal is the first book covering all aspects of biopolymer waste management and post-usage scenarios, embracing existing technologies, applications, and the behavior of biopolymers in various waste streams. The book investigates the benefits and weaknesses, social, economic and environmental impacts, and regulatory aspects of each technology. It covers different types of recycling and degradation, as well as life cycle analysis, all supported by case studies, literature references, and detailed information about global patents. Patents in particular—comprising 80% of published technical literature in this emerging field, widely scattered, and often available in Japanese only—are a key source of information. Dr. Niaounakis draws on disciplines such as polymer science, management, biology and microbiology, organic chemistry, environmental chemistry, and patent law to produce a reference guide for engineers, scientists and other professionals involved in the development and production of biopolymers, waste management, and recycling. This information is also valuable for regulators, patent attorneys and academics working in this field.

Key Features

  • Explores techniques and technologies involved in managing biopolymers in the waste stream, including recycling and upcycling
  • Provides waste management and recycling professionals the knowledge they need to plan for the exponential growth in biopolymer waste
  • Helps engineers and product designers fully consider the end-of-life aspects of their environmentally sustainable 'green' products and solutions


Engineers, scientists and other professionals in the fields of waste management / recycling and biopolymers; plastics engineers and polymer developers; chemical & environmental engineers and technicians concerned with plastic waste in municipal and industrial sectors; academics and researchers in waste management and polymer science; Regulators and patent attorneys.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword

    CHAPTER 1 Introduction to biopolymers 
    1.1 Rationale for use of biopolymers 
    1.2 Types of biopolymers 
    1.3 Polyesters 
    1.3.1 Poly(hydroxy acid)s 
    1.3.2 Poly(alkylene dicarboxylate)s 
    1.4 Poly(ether-ester)s 
    1.5 Aliphatic polycarbonates 
    1.6 Polyamides 
    1.7 Poly(ester amides) 
    1.8 Poly(ether amide)s 
    1.9 Polyurethanes (bio-based PU) 
    1.10 Polysaccharides 
    1.11 Vinyl polymers 
    1.12 Diene polymers 
    1.13 Other biodegradable polymers 
    1.14 Biopolymer compositions 
    1.14.1 Blends 
    1.14.2 Additives and modifiers 
    1.15 Biodegradable biopolymer additives 
    1.16 Sources of biopolymers 
    1.17 Applications and parts 
    1.17.1 Service packaging 
    1.17.2 Food-services 
    1.17.3 Agriculture/forestry/horticulture 
    1.17.4 Consumer electronics 
    1.17.5 Automotive industry 
    1.17.6 Textiles/fibers 
    1.15.7 Medical and pharmaceutical sector 
    1.15.8 Cosmetics 
    1.17.9 Outdoor sports 
    1.17.10 Building/construction industry 
    1.17.11 Other applications of biopolymers 
    1.18 Sources of scrap and waste biopolymers 
    CHAPTER 2 Definitions and assessment of (bio)degradation 
    2.1 Define the terms 
    2.2 Classification of biopolymers 
    2.3 Biopolymers versus oxodegradable polymers 
    2.4 Types and mechanisms of (bio)degradation 
    2.4.1 Thermal degradation 
    2.4.2 Photodegradation 
    2.4.3 Mechanical degradation
    2.4.4 Hydrolysis 
    2.4.5 Biodegradation 
    2.5 (Bio)degradation testing 
    2.5.1 Visual examination 
    2.5.2 Changes in thermo-mechanical and physical properties 
    2.5.3 Molecular weight 
    2.5.4 Chemical changes 
    2.5.5 Hydrolysis 
    2.5.6 Thermal degradation 
    2.5.7 Weight loss 
    2.5.8 Gas (CO2/CH4) evolution 
    2.5.9 Oxygen consumption 
    2.5.10 Radiolabeling 
    Supplementary patents (not relating necessarily to biopolymers)  

    CHAPTER 3 Reuse 
    3.1 Recuperation 
    3.2 Restabilization 
    3.3 Blending recycled biopolymers with other polymers 
    3.4 Modification of the chemical structure 
    3.5 Multiple processing 

    CHAPTER 4 Disposal 
    4.1 General 
    4.2 Landfilling
    4.2.1 Pretreatment before disposal 
    4.3 Biological processes 
    4.3.1 Aerobic biodegradation 
    4.3.2   Anaerobic biodegradation 
    4.3.3 Microbes and enzymes 
    4.4 (Bio)degradation in water 
    4.4.1 Hydrolysis 
    4.4.2 Enzymatic hydrolysis 
    4.4.3 Wastewater treatment 
    4.4.4 Marine and fresh water 
    4.5 Other waste disposal systems 
    4.6 Destructive thermal processes 
    4.6.1 Incineration (combustion) 
    4.6.2 Pyrolysis 
    Supplementary patents (not relating necessarily to biopolymers) 

    CHAPTER 5 Physical recycling 
    5.1 General 
    5.2 Grinding 
    5.3 Sorting 
    5.3.1 Density separation systems 
    5.3.2 Electrostatic separation systems 
    5.3.3 Optical systems 
    5.3.4 Dissolution 
    5.4 Drying 
    Supplementary patents (not relating necessarily to biopolymers) 

    CHAPTER 6 Chemical recycling 
    6.1 Dry-heat depolymerization (in the melt) 
    6.2 Hydrolysis/Solvolysis (Alcoholysis) 
    6.2.1 Hydrolysis 
    6.2.2 Alcoholysis 
    6.2.3 Foam hydrolysis 
    6.3 Hydrothermal depolymerization 
    6.4   Enzymatic depolymerization 
    6.5 Miscellaneous processes 
    Supplementary patents (not relating necessarily to biopolymers) 

    CHAPTER 7 Degradability on demand 
    7.1 Control of degradation rate 
    7.2 Suppression of (bio)degradability
    7.2.1 Control of the physical features of the biopolymer 
    7.2.2. Modification of the polymer backbone (hydrophobic bonds, grafting) 
    7.2.3. Functional group-capping agents and catalyst-deactivation agents 
    7.2.4 Desiccants (blotting compounds) 
    7.2.5 Antibacterial (antibiotic) compounds 
    7.2.6 Antioxidants, UV and light stabilizers 
    7.2.7 Crosslinking 
    7.2.8 Plasticizers 
    7.2.9 Blending with other polymers 
    7.2.10 Physical separation of degradation additives (e.g. by encapsulation or coating) 
    7.2.11 Coatings 
    7.2.12 Surface modification 
    7.3 Promotion of (bio)degradability 
    7.3.1 Control of the physical features of biopolymer 
    7.3.2 Modification of the polymer backbone 
    7.3.3 Enzymes, microbial nutrients 
    7.3.4 Compounds which can initiate and/or propagate depolymerization 
    7.3.5 Especially selected additives [e.g. capsules, (nano) particles acting as degradation agents] 
    7.3.6 Plasticizers 
    7.3.7 Blending with other polymers 
    7.3.8 Mixtures of biodegradation promotion and retarding agents 
    7.3.9 Environmental conditions (temperature, moisture, radiation and time of exposure) 
    7.3.10 Surface modification 

    CHAPTER 8 Developments and trends in patenting 
    8.1 Biopolymers and patents 
    8.2   Patent analysis 
    8.2.1 Distribution of patent applications per category of waste treatment 
    8.2.2   Geographical distribution of patent applications on waste treatment 
    8.3   Prospects and limitations of the waste treatment options of biopolymers 
    8.4 Conclusions 
    8.5   Development of new waste treatment processes/materials 

    CHAPTER 9 Regulatory aspects framework 
    9.1 Standards 
    9.1.1 Standards related to the recycling of biopolymers 
    9.1.2 Standards related to the disposal of biopolymers 
    9.1.3 Determination of bio-based content 
    9.1.4 Ecotoxicity 
    9.1.5 Sample preparation 
    9.1.6 Terminology 
    9.1.7 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) related standards 
    9.1.8 Eco-labeling 
    9.2 Certification 

    CHAPTER 10  Economic evaluation and environmental impacts 
    10.1 Economic evaluation 
    10.2 Life cycle assessment (LCA) 
    10.2.1 LCA of biopolymers 
    10.3 Environmental impacts 
    10.4 Health and safety impacts 

    Appendix I: Patents related to recycling, reuse and disposal of biopolymers
    Appendix II: Patents related to the degradation on demand
    Appendix III: Supplementary patents (not related necessarily to biopolymers)
    Appendix IV: Databases consulted
    Appendix V: Further information sources (organizations, magazine websites, etc.]
    Index I: List of patent numbers
    Index II: List of patent applicants 
    Index III: List of inventors
    Index IV: List of Authors
    Index V: Keyword index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 432
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © William Andrew 2013
  • Published: June 1, 2013
  • Imprint: William Andrew
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9781455731459
  • eBook ISBN: 9781455731541

About the Author

Michael Niaounakis

European Patent Office, Rijswijk, Netherlands

Affiliations and Expertise

European Patent Office, Rijswijk, The Netherlands

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