Waste management (New York, N.Y.)

Characterization of wood plastic composites made from landfill-derived plastic and sawdust: volatile compounds and olfactometric analysis.

PMID 23259974


Application of wood plastic composites (WPCs) obtained from recycled materials initially intended for landfill is usually limited by their composition, mainly focused on release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which could affect quality or human safety. The study of the VOCs released by a material is a requirement for new composite materials. Characterization and quantification of VOCs of several WPC produced with low density polyethylene (LDPE) and polyethylene/ethylene vinyl acetate (PE/EVA) films and sawdust were carried out, in each stage of production, by solid phase microextraction in headspace mode (HS-SPME) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). An odor profile was also obtained by HS-SPME and GC-MS coupled with olfactometry analysis. More than 140 compounds were observed in the raw materials and WPC samples. Some quantified compounds were considered WPC markers such as furfural, 2-methoxyphenol, N-methylphthalimide and 2,4-di-tert-butylphenol. Hexanoic acid, acetic acid, 2-methoxyphenol, acetylfuran, diacetyl, and aldehydes were the most important odorants. None of the VOCs were found to affect human safety for use of the WPC.