5 November 2013

OWS publishes new study regarding biodegradable and oxo-degradable plastics

Very few positive biodegradation results for oxo-degradable plastics could not be repeated

Biodegradable 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 claim to provide a potential solution to littering issues.

This complex topic touches on various issues such as raw materials, application sector, and end-of-life. In order to avoid confusion of the terms “biodegradable” and “oxo-degradable”, OWS – commissioned by PlasticsEurope – recently published a comparative literature study on the “benefits and challenges of biodegradable and oxo-degradable plastics”.

The main results of the study can be summarised as follows:

The majority of biodegradable plastics meet the requirements of recognised standards in industrial composting. Certified corresponding proof of biodegradation is available for biodegradable and compostable plastics from accredited laboratories and institutes.

By way of contrast, the Very few positive biodegradation results for oxo-degradable plastics could not be repeatedwere achieved in unrealistic testing environments and could not be repeated. Consequently, oxo-degradable plastics do not meet the requirements of industrial and/or home compostability set out in various established standards.

More information on this study is available at:

Source: European Bioplastics Newsletter, 2013-10.


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