Guide to biodegradable polymers

Biodegradable polymers are gaining popularity, for instance, in agricultural applications such as mulch films, flowerpots and controlled-release fertilisers, and in packaging items such as carrier bags and food wrapping and containers.

They have the potential to provide an answer to a range of environmental concerns: reduced availability of landfill space, declining petrochemical sources, and also offer an alternative option to recycling.

Rapra's new Handbook of biodegradable polymers is a complete guide to the subject of biodegradable polymers and is suitable for those new to the subject or those wanting to supplement their existing knowledge.

The book covers the mechanisms of degradation in various environments, by both biological and non-biological means, and the methods for measuring biodegradation.

The degree and rate of biodegradation is dependent on the chemical composition of the polymer and its working environment, so there is no single optimal method for determining biodegradation.

This handbook provides a discussion of international and national standards and certification procedures developed to ensure accurate communication of a material's biodegradability between producers, authorities and consumers.

The book goes on to consider the characteristics, processability and application areas for biodegradable polymers, with the following key polymer family groups discussed: polyhydroxyalkanoates, starch, poly(lactic acid) and copolyesters, aliphatic-aromatic polyesters, and protein-based materials.

The Handbook of biodegradable polymers is edited by Catia Bastioli, the managing director and research manager of Novamont, a leading innovator in the bioplastics sector.

The Handbook of biodegradable polymers retails at GBP110 (plus postage and packaging) and is available from Rapra Technology.

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