Comparative life cycle assessment of coffee jar lids made from biocomposites containing poly(lactic acid) and banana fiber

L. Joana Rodríguez, Serena Fabbri, Carlos E. Orrego, Mikołaj Owsianiak

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Composites containing bio-based materials, like banana fiber and poly(lactic acid) (PLA), are potential food-packaging materials. We carried out an environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) of coffee jar lids made from high density polyethylene (HDPE), PLA, and banana fiber to assess their environmental performance. We considered differences in the type of blend (content of PLA and banana fiber in the composite), origin of the banana fiber feedstock (considered as either biowaste or as a co-product from banana production) and banana fiber pretreatment conditions (either no pretreatment or pretreatment using chemicals). Irrespective of the scenario, a lid made from 40% banana fiber and equal amounts of HDPE and PLA performed significantly better in all 18 impact categories when compared to a lid made from 100% PLA. By contrast, the same lid performed significantly better in 3 impact categories only (climate change, photochemical oxidant formation and fossil depletion) when compared to a lid made from 100% HDPE. Thus, environmental performance of the biocomposite strongly depends on which polymer base is replaced by the banana fiber in the composite. Replacing PLA with banana fiber is generally expected to bring environmental benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110493
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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