Bio-degradable and Oxodegradable plastics: Comparative study

Bio-degradable plastics were originally developed in order to solve specific waste issues related either to agricultural films or collection and separation of food waste. Oxo-degradable plastics are claimed to provide a potential solution to littering issues. 

As this is a very complex topic with various parameters such as raw materials, application sector and end-of-life questions and to avoid confusion and add clarity to the terms "biodegradable” and "oxo-degradable” plastics, PlasticsEurope commissioned OWS to carry out a comparative literature study on the "benefits and challenges of bio- and oxo-degradable plastics”.

The main results of the study can be summarised as follows:
  • The majority of biodegradable plastics meet the requirements of well-recognised
  • standards of industrial composting;
  • Solid proof of biodegradation is available through certification by accredited laboratories and institutes for biodegradable plastics;
  • The very few positive biodegradation results obtained with oxo-degradable plastics were achieved in unrealistic testing environments and could not be repeated.
  • Oxo-degradable plastics do not meet the requirements of industrial and/or home compostability set out in various established standards;
  • In light of the above, the study recommends to use the term ‘thermo- or photofragmentable plastics’ instead of "oxo-degradable” plastics.
For more information on the study please follow link below:

Did you know ?
  • Nowadays there are wearable plastics airbags protecting bicyclists, motorcycle racers and alpine skiers. © American Chemistry Council, Inc.