ENHANCING PROFITABILITY & SUSTAINABILITY UPLAND COTTON, COTTONSEED, & COTTON BYPROD THROUGH IMPRVMNTS IN HARVESTING, GINNING, & MECH PROCESS
Location: Cotton Production and Processing Research
Title: Recycling of ligno-cellulosic and polyethylene wastes from agricultural operations in thermoplastic composites
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 11, 2011
Publication Date: August 15, 2011
Citation: Sreekala, B.G., Sreekala, D.S., Holt, G.A., Srinivasan, R., Coffelt, T.A., Nakayama, F.S., Gesch, R.W. 2011. Recycling of ligno-cellulosic and polyethylene wastes from agricultural operations in thermoplastic composites [abstract]. Proceedings of Second International Conference on Recycling and Reuse of Materials, August 5-7, 2011, Kottayam, Kerala, India. p. 18-19.
In the US, wood plastic composites (WPC) represent one of the successful markets for natural fiber-filled thermoplastic composites. The WPC typically use virgin or recycled thermoplastic as the substrate and wood fiber as the filler. A major application of the WPC is in non-structural building applications such as decking, railing, fences, flooring, window and door components, etc. In the past several years, the availability of good quality wood fiber has been diminishing and prices have been proportionately increasing. On the other hand, the agriculture sector generates vast quantities of ligno-cellulosic and thermoplastic wastes. This study focuses on the use of selected byproducts from cotton, guayule, cuphea, and corn processing operations in thermoplastic composites. The byproducts explored include ligno-cellulosic fibers such as cotton burr and linters from cotton gin trash, guayule whole plant and bagasse, cuphea bagasse and DDGS fiber from corn ethanol production, as well as a polyethylene film used as cotton module wraps. In this study, composite samples were made and tested for physical and mechanical properties that are relevant to building products that are exposed to temperature and moisture cycles. This study is a collaborative work between university scientists, composite industry, commodity groups, and USDA to ensure commercial acceptance of these recycled products that will otherwise have no value and create a burden on the environment during disposal.