College - Author 1

College of Engineering

Department - Author 1

Materials Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Materials Engineering

College - Author 2

College of Engineering

Department - Author 2

Materials Engineering Department

Degree - Author 2

BS in Materials Engineering



Primary Advisor

Trevor Harding, College of Engineering, Materials Engineering Department


Sinclair International produces certified compostable laminate fruit labels and were interested in the end-of-life period, when disposed of in various settings. The goal of this project was to study and analyze the biodegradation of Sinclair International’s certified compostable labels under home-composting conditions. The labels were sent out to 4 different regions within the United States, including an arid zone (Arizona and New Mexico), mediterranean climate (Atascadero, California), tropical region (Hawaii), and temperate region (Ithaca, New York). The labels were composted for a total of 12 months with samples being collected every 2 months to analyze for possible degradation. The samples were analyzed using three different methods, environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) in order to determine if biodegradation had occurred. FTIR analysis was performed on each sample region, showing a decrease in the chemical bonds present over 12 months. ESEM images showed small 5µm-20µm cracks on the 12 month samples that were not present on the undegraded sample. The DSC data did not show any significant change in the glass transition temperature or crystallinity over 12 months. Using these tools, it was found that the labels degraded a small amount over the course of the 12 month period.