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M.A. Kasrawi, N. Khraishi, and Y. Tabaza

A greenhouse experiment was conducted over two growing seasons to study the physical and mechanical properties of a recycled multilayer plastic cover and its effect on the production of greenhouse-grown tomatoes. Two experimental greenhouses were constructed, one covered with recycled multilayer film and the other with conventional virgin monolayer film. The air temperature under both covers was similar; the soil temperature in the recycled multilayer house was a few degrees lower in the afternoon hours to midnight than in the virgin monolayer house. The recycled multilayer film retained its strength and elasticity over a useful service life of 7 months (one growing season), after which severe degradation occurred as manifested by a 50% loss of elongation at break. During the useful lifetime of the film, haziness, light scattering, and light transmission of the recycled film was similar to the conventional film. The thermal analysis of the recycled film revealed a low stability against thermo-oxidative degradation and the infrared analysis indicated the presence of a measurable amount of degradation products, mainly carbonyl groups, in the recycled film in comparison with conventional film. During the useful lifetime of recycled film, yield components of the tomato crop were identical to the conventional film in both growing seasons. In conclusion, waste plastic recycling offers an attractive solution to nuisance environmental problems. However, the useful lifetime of recycled films needs to be improved.