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Environmentally Benign Sustainable Materials

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 29 February 2024 | Viewed by 4123

Special Issue Editors

Department of Forest Biomaterials, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA
Interests: sustainable and functional bioproduct; nanomaterials; barrier coatings and composites; digital printing; 3D printing; printed electronics; smart manufacturing
Global Packaging Development (R&D), Mars Wrigley, Chicago, USA
Interests: barrier coatings; nanocellulose; sustainable packaging; alternate fibers, biopolymers
Departments of Forest Biomaterials, Chemistry, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Interests: green chemistry; smart biopolymeric materials; self-healing phenomena; drug delivery approaches; tissue engineering scaffolds; hydrogels
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The growing global demand for sustainable, ecologically compatible materials as replacements for petroleum-derived materials in packaging, hygiene and other applications is of the highest importance. Current non-biobased systems generate significant land and ocean pollution; this undergirds the need for environmentally benign, sustainable materials within a new construct, i.e., the circular economy. Although materials obtained from different biobased resources are receiving significant attention from the research community, they have not made great inroads at the industrial scale due to the lack of economic feasibility and contradictory life cycle assessment reports, compared to synthetic polymers. However, mandates for sustainability and recent changes in national governmental policies and regulations include banning single-use plastic products, as observed in sweeping reforms in Europe, Asia, and several US States, are forcing industries and consumers to find alternative, sustainable solutions.

One of the most significant repercussions of the recent COVID-19 pandemic was the generation of significant amounts of waste due to an immense increase in online delivery numbers, especially in the food industry, which caused a proportionate increase in materials waste to the landfills. Biobased materials such as cellulose derivatives, starch, (poly)hydroxyalkenoates, proteins, etc. can derive huge ecological benefits and solve end-of-life issues associated with petroleum-derived compounds. This Special Issue aims to capture both sides of the coins of various biobased materials and their impact on the industry and society. This Special Issue seeks original contributions on the development of sustainable materials and their impact on the environment and circularity. Potential topics include but are not limited to recent developments in biobased materials for applications such as various grades of packaging, composites, coatings, hygiene, and flexible electronics.

Dr. Lokendra Pal
Dr. Preeti Tyagi
Prof. Dr. Lucian Lucia
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biobased materials
  • sustainable materials
  • environment and circularity
  • packaging
  • composites
  • coatings
  • hygiene
  • flexible electronics

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 5408 KiB  
Article
Understanding Binding of Quaternary Ammonium Compounds with Cellulose-Based Fibers and Wipes for Renewable and Sustainable Hygiene Options
Sustainability 2024, 16(4), 1586; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16041586 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 454
Abstract
Cellulose-based fibers are desirable materials for nonwoven wipes for their good absorbency, strength, cleaning, and biodegradable properties. However, quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs), being cationic in nature, show electrostatic interactions with anionic cellulosic fibers, reducing the available QACs to efficiently clean surfaces. This research [...] Read more.
Cellulose-based fibers are desirable materials for nonwoven wipes for their good absorbency, strength, cleaning, and biodegradable properties. However, quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs), being cationic in nature, show electrostatic interactions with anionic cellulosic fibers, reducing the available QACs to efficiently clean surfaces. This research presents sustainable alternative fibers that show better controlled exhaustion than commercial wipes and textile fibers. Textile and lignocellulosic fibers were prepared, soaked in QAC, and a UV–vis spectrophotometer was used to measure their exhaustion percentages. Factors such as immersion time and concentration of the disinfectant were also investigated, which affect the rate of exhaustion of the disinfectant from the fibers. A higher immersion time resulted in better exhaustion, whereas the total exhaustion decreased with an increase in the initial concentration of the disinfectant. The exhaustion of benzalkonium chloride (BAC) from the commercial wipes was also investigated at different immersion times and BAC concentrations. It was found that the wood and non-wood fibers showed more controlled exhaustion than the textile fibers and commercial wipes, and could be considered an alternative option for renewable and sustainable wipes and hygiene products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Benign Sustainable Materials)
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Review

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20 pages, 3775 KiB  
Review
Shellac: From Isolation to Modification and Its Untapped Potential in the Packaging Application
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 3110; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043110 - 08 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2716
Abstract
Recently, terms such as sustainable, bio-based, biodegradable, non-toxic, or environment-benign are being found in the literature, suggesting an increase in green materials for various applications in the future, particularly in the packaging application. The unavoidable shift from conventional polymers to green materials is [...] Read more.
Recently, terms such as sustainable, bio-based, biodegradable, non-toxic, or environment-benign are being found in the literature, suggesting an increase in green materials for various applications in the future, particularly in the packaging application. The unavoidable shift from conventional polymers to green materials is difficult, as most bio-sourced materials are not water-resistant. Nonetheless, Shellac, a water-resistant resin secreted by a lac insect, used as a varnish coat, has been underutilized for packaging applications. Here, we review Shellac’s potential in the packaging application to replace conventional polymers and biopolymers. We also discuss Shellac’s isolation, starting from the lac insect and its conversion to Sticklac, Seedlac, and Shellac. Further, the chemistry of shellac resin, the chemical structure, and its properties are examined in detail. One disadvantage of Shellac is that it becomes stiff over time. To enable the usage of Shellac for an extended time in the packaging application, a modification of Shellac via physical and chemical means is conferred. Furthermore, the usage of Shellac in other polymer matrices and its effect are reviewed. Lastly, the non-toxic and biodegradable nature of Shellac and its potential in packaging are explored by comparing it with traditional crude-based polymers and conventional bio-based materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Benign Sustainable Materials)
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