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Development of Cassava Bioplastics for Consumer Packaging
The progressive increase in the production and use of low density polyethylene plastics for consumer packaging has led to waste disposal problems due to non-degradability of such prod-ucts after usage. The production of biodegradable polymer materials for consumer packaging in order to reduce the environmental waste menace caused by petroleum based polyethylene prod-ucts has therefore gained worldwide attention. Batch formulations of gelatinized cassava starch, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and Chitosan were casted into polymer films and characterized. The chemical structure, film morphology, tensile strength and water vapour transmission rate of the cassava bioplastics were studied. Different blends resulted in different physical properties; how-ever, starch/PVA/Chitosan batch formulations exhibited the most promising performance char-acteristics with a tensile strength of 0.014MPa and a water transmission rate of 2936.67g/m2 per day. Biodegradability tests also indicated that the non-transparent starch/PVA/Chitosan batch was 45.7% degraded after being buried in a soil sample for two weeks.