What is biodegradable plastic

That is why biodegradable plastic has no advantages

The first thing must be clear between biodegradable and bio-based A distinction is made between plastics.Biodegradable Bags are made of plastics which, under certain conditions, decompose themselves into mineral salts, biomass, water and CO2. This can also happen in the wild with the help of microorganisms and with a supply of oxygen.

So-called bio-basedPlastics on the other hand are plastics made entirely or only partially from vegetable raw materials, for example from corn, starch or sugar cane. The following applies: Bio-based plastics can, but do not necessarily have to be, biodegradable. It all depends on the type of polymer, i.e. the structure of the molecules that make up the plastic.

The reverse also applies: Biodegradable plastic can be made from vegetable raw materials. But there are also petroleum-based polymers that can be broken down with the help of microorganisms.

There is another special case among biodegradable plastics: compostable Plastic, from which, for example, organic waste bags are normally made. “Compostable” is a standardized term and means that microorganisms use the plastic in composting plants and thus in a process controlled by people in a short time can decompose.

Then there are the oxo-degradable plastics. These contain metal ions that are oxidized by UV light or heat and oxygen. The plastic structure breaks down into small microplastic fragments.

In agriculture, for example, mulch films are made from oxo-degradable plastic. They are sold to farmers with the intention of not having to collect them again after use. However, because microplastics are produced when they are broken down and are hardly broken down any further, there are already strong efforts in the EU to ban such plastics.

Bioplastics only have a share of one percent of the global plastics market. 60 percent of the bioplastics produced in 2019 are also biodegradable.