Biodegradable Plastics

Biodegradable vs Compostable

Biodegradable is not the same as compostable. Biodegradable means that an object can be biologically broken down.  Compostable means that the process will result in compost, or humus.

Biodegradable vs Bio-sourced vs Bioplastics

Bio-sourced means that the plastic is made of renewable raw materials. This means that it’s a non-fossil plastic (the plastic was not made using petroleum) ad thus made of plants, corn, algae, etc;

Biodegradable refers to the end-of-life process and the fact that the plastic will usually break down or decompose by the action of living organisms such as bacteria. Petrol-based plastic is often enriched with biodegradable additives to enhance biodegradation.

The word bioplastics is often used to refer to those two types of plastics: bio-sourced and biodegradable. However, not everyone agrees with this.

Types of Biodegradable Plastics:

  • Aliphatic Polyesters
  • Polyanhydrides
  • Polyvinyl alcohol
  • Starch derivatives
  • Cellulose esters like cellulose acetate and nitrocellulose and their derivatives (celluloid).
  • Polyethylene terephthalate
  • Enhanced biodegradable plastic with additives