ASTM D5338-15 Determining Aerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials

ASTM D5338-15 Determining Aerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials

This method, ASTM D5338-15 determines the aerobic biodegradability of plastics by selecting the right material. It was obtaining an inoculum from municipal solid trash that has been composted. In addition to the inoculum, the test material was subjected to a controlled aerobic composting method. The percentage of carbon in the test material converted to CO₂ during the test is determined by calculating the percentage of carbon in the test substance converted to CO₂.

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    ASTM D5338-15 assesses the degree and rate of aerobic biodegradation of plastic materials in a controlled composting environment at thermophilic temperatures in a laboratory setting. This test technique is intended to produce reliable and reproducible test findings under controlled circumstances that mimic composting processes, such as thermophilic temperatures. 


    In ASTM D5338-15  an inoculum is obtained from an aerobic composting facility that adequately runs and handles municipal solid waste or the organic part thereof. Inoculum is screened, and then volatile solids are determined. Then composting vessels are aerated with the airflow as required. Then they are incubated in the dark for 45 days, and CO₂ and O₂ concentration is checked in outgoing air. Dry solid in the vessel is determined, and volatile solids are determined only in the case of weight loss.


    Following is the equation to calculate the biodegradability:

    %Biodegradability = Cg(test) – Cg(blank)/Ci ×100

    Cg= gaseous carbon

    Ci= carbon in test compound


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