Below is a more detailed comparison of various types of biodegradable plastics, including information
about their source, biodegradability, characteristics, and common applications:
|Biodegradable Plastic Type||Source||Biodegradability||Characteristics and Common Applications|
|Polylactic Acid (PLA)||Cornstarch or sugarcane||Biodegradable under industrial composting conditions, slower in natural environments||– Transparent and rigid – Used in food packaging, disposable cutlery, food containers – May not be suitable for high-heat applications due to low melting point|
|Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)||Produced by microorganisms||Completely biodegradable in various environments||– Versatile and adaptable – Used in biodegradable packaging, agricultural films, medical products – Can replace conventional plastics in various applications|
|Polybutylene Adipate Terephthalate (PBAT)||Typically synthesized from petroleum-based materials||Biodegradable under industrial composting conditions||– Flexible and durable – Blended with other biodegradable plastics for improved properties – Used in biodegradable packaging materials|
|Starch-Based Biodegradable Plastics||Derived from starch (e.g., corn or potatoes)||Biodegradable under industrial composting conditions||– Good moisture resistance – Used in disposable cutlery, bags, packaging materials – Generally more affordable than some other biodegradable plastics|
|PHA Blends||Blends of PHA and other biodegradable or traditional plastics||Biodegradability depends on the specific blend||– Varied properties depending on the blend – Suitable for various applications combining different biodegradable plastic characteristics|
|Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics||Traditional plastics with additives promoting fragmentation||Fragments into smaller pieces, raising concerns about microplastics||– Fragments when exposed to environmental stress – Used in bags and packaging materials in regions with legal requirements – Some controversy due to microplastic issues|
|biodegradable Future additive||organic compounds used to treat synthetic polymers||complete Biodegradability of polymer chain by microorganisms in specific environments|
-Flexible, Durable, Versatile, adaptable, and used as biodegradable packaging material. It also has good moisture resistance.
Why Oxo-biodegradable plastic is awful and banned in the EU.
Oxo-biodegradable plastic is a type of plastic that has been treated with additives to accelerate the degradation process when exposed to environmental conditions, such as heat and light. However, the use and promotion of oxo-biodegradable plastic have been met with controversy and have led to its restriction in some regions, including the European Union. Here is a comparison chart highlighting some of the reasons why oxo-biodegradable plastic is considered problematic and banned in the EU:
|Aspect||Oxo-Biodegradable Plastic||EU Ban and Concerns|
|Degradability||Claimed to degrade into smaller fragments||Concerns about incomplete degradation and microplastic pollution.|
|Environmental Impact||May contribute to microplastic pollution||Microplastics harm ecosystems and aquatic life.|
|Recycling Compatibility||Interferes with traditional recycling streams||Disrupts established recycling systems.|
|Regulatory Concerns||Banned in the EU for certain uses||Concerns about false environmental claims and misleading consumers.|
|Lack of Proven Benefits||Limited scientific evidence of significant environmental benefits||Scepticism regarding effectiveness.|
|Ambiguity in Claims||May mislead consumers into thinking it’s an eco-friendly solution||Concerns about greenwashing.|
|Alternatives Available||Eco-friendly alternatives like compostable plastics||Safer options exist for reducing plastic pollution.|
|Potential for Toxic Residues||Concerns about the toxicity of degraded plastic residues||Health and environmental risks.|
It’s important to note that the EU has taken steps to restrict the use of oxo-biodegradable plastic because it may not deliver the environmental benefits it claims while posing potential risks to ecosystems and recycling systems. As a result, the use of oxo-biodegradable plastic is not recommended in the European Union.
Oxo-biodegradables are currently outlawed in most Western regions, including the EU and US, and critics accuse Western companies of continuing to peddle PAC plastics to profiteer from largely uninformed, undeveloped and vulnerable nations where legislation has yet to be enforced