Does oxo-biodegradable plastic biodegrade, or does it just fragment?
Oxo-biodegradable plastic does just what it says, the clue is in the name – It is called oxo-biodegradable plastic because it is biodegradable. Oxo-biodegradable technology converts plastic products into biodegradable materials at the end of their useful life, and it does this by oxidation in the presence of oxygen. There is nothing misleading about it.
There are some scientists who are not expert in oxo-biodegradable technology and there are mischievous individuals or companies who are spreading misinformation because they wish to give their own product an advantage in the marketplace that it does not deserve on merit. A scientific team from Blaise Pascal University (France’s leading research centre into degradable plastics) took issue with the erroneous ‘not very expert reports’ and misinformation by which the EU has been misled on this issue http://www.biodeg.org/CNEP%20Stmt%20Nov%202014%20(En)-Lemaire%20appvd(1).pdf
Oxo-biodegradable plastic degrades and biodegrades in the open environment in the same way as nature’s wastes, only quicker. What’s more, it does so without leaving any toxic residues or fragments of plastic behind.
If oxo-biodegradable plastic merely fragmented without biodegrading, CEN (European Committee for Standardization) would not have defined oxo-biodegradability as ““degradation resulting from oxidative and cell-mediated phenomena, either simultaneously or successively” and the American, British and French standards organisations would not have included tests for biodegradability in ASTM D6954, BS8472 and ACT51-808.
Oxo-biodegradable plastic has been studied by scientists for many years http://www.biodeg.org/bibliography.html most recently at the Technical Research Institute of Sweden and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and a peer-reviewed report of the work was published in Vol 96 of the journal of Polymer Degradation & Stability (2011) at page 919-928. They found 91% biodegradation within 24 months.
Furthermore, eleven governments in the world have examined this technology very carefully and realised that oxo-biodegradable plastic offers a solution to plastic waste that escapes into the open environment and cannot realistically be collected. They have legislated to make oxo-biodegradable plastic mandatory, because it does not just fragment. It biodegrades.