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Exploring Odor Minimization in Post-Consumer Plastic Packaging Waste through the Use of Probiotic Bacteria

: Lok, Bianca; Buettner, Andrea; Denk, Philipp; Ortner, Eva; Fell, Tanja

Volltext ()

Sustainability 12 (2020), Nr.22, Art. 9432, 18 S.
ISSN: 2071-1050
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IVV ()

Plastic packaging represents a large proportion of the plastic consumption throughout the world. The negative environmental impact associated with plastic packaging waste can be in part abated by recycling plastics, and increasing numbers of regulatory frameworks are being adopted towards this goal. Despite recent advances in modern recycling technologies, the production of high-quality polyolefin recyclates remains a challenge. Among other functional requirements, odor plays a crucial role in the acceptance of recycled packaging. This presents a challenge, as odor contamination in plastic packaging waste can stem from diverse sources, such as spoilage processes, and strongly depends on the quality of the post-consumer input material. The present study addressed this issue by exploring potential odor abatement of malodors in packaging waste through the use of probiotic bacteria. Specifically, probiotics were added to a mixed post-consumer plastic packaging waste fraction, which was subsequently evaluated using human sensory and gas chromatography–olfactometric analyses. A comparison of treated with untreated plastic waste fractions revealed significant sensory differences. Further structural elucidation of the causative odorants confirmed a reduction in malodorous microbial metabolites, although complete odor removal was not achieved. However, this environmentally friendly approach may represent an essential step towards overcoming the odor burden in post-consumer plastic packaging recyclates.