Biodegradability Assessment of Bio-based Film Products (Lunch Sheets) in the Marine Environment


  • Jayasooriya J.K.B.P.
  • Jayaweera C.D.
  • Gamage N.S.



Plastic pollution is a current common problem and it causes a serious impact on the marine
environment. Micro debris of plastics have accumulated in oceans and exhibit a natural tendency to
interrelate with the ecosystem which can cause negative effects on both humans and animals.
Polythene food wrappers are used worldwide as a packaging material. Considering the negative
impact of polythene wrappers, biodegradable food wrappers have been produced in Sri Lanka
following the Section 23 W of the National Environmental Act. The objective of the study was to
determine the biodegradability of few bio-based film products (lunch sheets) available in the Sri
Lankan market labeled as 100% biodegradable in the marine environment. The biodegradability of
five different brands of biodegradable food wrappers were tested together with cellulose paper as the
positive control and non-biodegradable food wrapper as the negative control in the marine
environment. Laboratory models of three marine environments; inter tidal zone, pelagic zone and
brackish water were selected and the biodegradability for a period of six months were tested using
weight measurement and FT-IR analysis. Furthermore, several environmental parameters were tested
for these three marine zones. Results indicated that the highest percentage weight loss was shown by
brand 3 in all three marine environments. In the pelagic zone, percentage weight loss ranged from
8.60-48.92% while highest value of 48.92% was shown by brand 3. In the brackish water
environment, brand 3 showed 73.51% of percentage weight loss and values ranged from 11.76-
73.51%. The percentage weight loss, ranged from 68.29-89.99% in inter tidal zone and brand 3
showed the highest value as 89.99%. All the samples showed a considerable weight loss after six
months duration in inter tidal zone compared to other zones and even the negative control has
undergone physical disintegration. It is assumed that oxo-biodegradation leads to this disintegration
in the food wrappers in this zone. The FT-IR results have shown that there is no significant
degradation of the non-biodegradable food wrapper (negative control) while the cellulose paper
(positive control) and the biodegradable food wrappers have undergone a considerable degradation.

Keywords: Biodegradability, Food wrappers, Marine environment

Author Biographies

Jayasooriya J.K.B.P.

Department of Chemistry, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka

Jayaweera C.D.

Department of Chemistry, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka

Gamage N.S.

Central Environmental Authority, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka






Environmental Engineering and Green Technology