Enhancing anti-microbial properties of wood-plastic composites produced from timber and plastic wastes

Lei Wang, Season S. Chen, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Chi Sun Poon, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Considering the resource waste and environmental burden for timber and plastic materials ending up at landfills, this study proposed upcycling wood and plastic waste into value-added wood-plastic composites (WPCs), complying with the standard requirements of flexural strength, thickness swelling, water absorption and thermal insulation. Biological deterioration is a major concern of WPCs. Bacterial survival, fungal attack and algal growth of bactericide-treated WPCs were holistically analysed. Melamine resin was adopted for impregnating anti-microbial agents on the surface. All the agents showed excellent bactericidal rate (Escherichia coli), yet poly-diallyl-dimethyl-ammonium chloride (PolyDADMAC) and silver had the lowest minimum inhibitory concentrations. In terms of weight loss and strength reduction due to fungal decay (Coriolus versicolor), PolyDADMAC, silver and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) imparted the highest resistance on the WPCs. Moreover, PolyDADMAC and copper provided the most protection against algal growth (Chlorella vulgaris), and the former presented durable inhibitory effect. This study presents a value-added solution to wood/plastic waste recycling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12227-12237
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors appreciate the financial support from the Construction Industry Council and the Construction Industry Institute (Hong Kong)/PolyU Innovation Fund for this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Algal growth
  • Anti-bacterial properties
  • Fungal decay
  • Waste recycling
  • Wood-plastic composites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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