4 Phases Of Plastic Biodegration

In total, there are three types of microbial environments. These include:

  • suspended
  • dormant
  • active

All plastics treated using Biodegradable Future additives need an active microbial environment in order for the biodegrading process to occur.

Environments such as offices, warehouses, retail stores and warehouses locations are considered suspended or dormant. these locations do not provide the right circumstances for biodegradation phases to kick off.

An active microbial environment is one that contains active fungal and bacterial colonies, such as landfills, oceans and soil. These environments allow the microbes to colonize on and begin to digest the polymer.

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An active microbial environment is one that contains active fungal and bacterial colonies, such as landfills, oceans and soil.

Aerobic Phase (first few days):

This is the phase when microbes start becoming established and moisture begins building up in the landfill. In this phase, our additive starts weakening the smaller polymer bonds for moisture and microbial growth. This is different to standard plastic, which has little to zero absorption capability. In this phase, oxygen is replaced with carbon dioxide.

Anaerobic Non-Methanogenic Phase (2 weeks – 6 months):

The microbe colonies begin eating the particulates and reduce the polymers into monomers. The monomers amalgamate with the additive, which then opens the polymer chain and increases quorum sensing. This increases colonisation and consumption and carbon dioxide production picks up rapidly. As time passes, the monomers are converted into fatty acids.

Anaerobic Methanogenic Unsteady Phase (6 – 18 months):

The colonies continue growing and eating the polymer chains. In this phase, fatty acids convert into acetic acids, and carbon dioxide converts into hydrogen. Towards the end of this phase, carbon dioxide production decreases and hydrogen production ends.

Anaerobic, Methanogenic Steady Phase (1 – 5 years):

In this final stage, acetates are converted in methane and carbon dioxide. What remains is humus, a nutritional soil that is ideal for the microbes and their environment. The microbes use the carbon of the polymer chain. This is used for energy and nothing is left behind when the process of digestion is complete.

*Please note that our Biodegradable Future additive is EU and FDA compliant.


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* Biodegradation rates of Bio Future's additives -treated plastic materials measured according to the ASTM D5511 test method. Tests are generally conducted using 20% to 30% solids content; solids content in naturally wetter landfills range from 55% to 65%, while the driest landfills may reach 93%. Actual biodegradation rates will vary in biologically-active landfills according to the type of plastic used, the product configuration, and the solid content, temperature and moisture levels of the landfill.