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Julian Paolo Biyo Jason Andrei TemeloI-RubyPhilippine Science High School Weste rn Visayas Campus Investigatory Project TITLE: Effect of the Different Types of Substrates on theBiodegradability of SM Plastic Bags I. Background of the Study Official figures show that plastics make up around 25% of thegarbage that metro manila churns out, while an independent surveyconducted by Ecowaste Coalition an d Greenpeace on the compositionof discards on manila bay in 2006 found that 51% were plastic bags,19% sachets and junk food wrappers, 5% Styrofoam, 1% hard plas tics,10% rubber, 13% biodegradable wastes (Cayetano, 2008;www.senatorpiacayetano .com/psc/pressreleasedetails.php?recordID=175)Biodegradable plastics are degrada ble plastics on which thedegradation results from the action of naturally occurr ing micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi , and algae (info@epi-global.com). T hese plastics are broken down into water, carbon dioxide, methaneand biomass pri marily through enzymatic action on microorganisms(Azios, 2007www.csmonitor.com/2 007/1219/p16s01 -sten.html).Biodegradable will fully disintegrate in six months or less. It turns intopowder and blends with the soil after a few months (Demeti llo, 2008www.smprime.com/News.php?BlurbID=1113).Many biodegradable plastics will decompose in industrial plants,backyard compost piles, or open environments. Th e inherentbiodegradability of plastics depend on several environmental factorssu ch as moisture, temperature, surface area, and the manufacturingmethod of the fi nished product. (Nolan-ITU Pty Ltd, 2002www.environment.gov.au/settlement/public ations/waste/deg)

Although some brands claim to be biodegradable in open air andsaltwater, virtual ly no decomposition occurs within a closed landfillthat has been capped, prevent ing air circulation. (Azios, 2007www.csmonitor.com/2007/1219/p16s01 -sten.html) The SM mall chain has started shifting biodegradable plasticbags for its superma rkets and department stores (Cayetano, 2008). The use of biodegradable plastics help lessen the burden of the ever-growing garbage problem in the Philippines an d in the whole world II. Problem of the Study This study was conducted to answer the following problem:Will exposing the SM p lastic bags to different substrates such ascompost soil, loam soil, tap water, a nd seawater over a period of timeaffect its biodegradability? III. Hypothesis of the Study If SM plastic bags will be placed in different substrates over aperiod of time, then its biodegradability will be affected. IV. Objectives of the Study A.General Objective: To determine the effect of different substrates on the biodegradabilityof SM pl astic bags. B.

Specific Objectives: 1. To expose SM plastic bags to different substrates such as compost soil,loam soi l, seawater and tap water for a duration of several months. 2. To measure the weight of the plastic bags (grams) before and afterdifferent exp osure periods to the substrates.3.To compare the percent weight loss of the SM p lastic bags exposed todifferent substrates after a period of time. V.Design of the Study A.VariablesA1. Independent variables/ manipulated variable: substrate 1. Compost soil2.Loam soil3.Seawater4.Tap waterA2. Dependent variable/ responding v ariable: biodegradability (percentweight loss)B.Materials 6, 1-litre glass jars 6, 7x9 aluminium trays 12 pcs. 3x4 SM plastic bags 500g loam soil 500g compost soil 500mL seawater 500mL tap water Analytical balance Graduated cylinder Weighing scaleC.ProceduresWe cut the SM plastic bags into 3x4sizes strips. We labe lled theplastic strips into C1, C2, C3 for compost soil, L1, L2, L3 for loamsoil , S1, S2, S3 for seawater, and T1, T2, T3 for tap watertreatments. We then deter mined the initial weights of the plasticstrips in grams using the analytical bal ance. The initial weights (W1)of the plastic strips were then recorded in our lo g book.

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