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Biodegradable Plastics: The Two Main Types and How They Work

21 Jan 2011

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The world-wide demand for plastics continues to skyrocket. The early plastics were non-biodegradable and now rest in landfills for thousands of years to come. Scientists were quick to recognize this environmental threat and matured plastics manufacturing industry into the multi-faceted biodegradable industry that it is today.  Today, two main biodegradable plastics prevail the market:  oxo-biodegradable and hydro-biodegradable.

The two products have similarities.  In both cases degradation begins with a chemical process (oxidation and hydrolysis respectively), followed by a biological process and both types emit CO2 as they degrade.  Both types are compostable.

Hydro-biodegradable is much more expensive than oxo-biodegradable to manufacture. Hydro-biodegradable also emits methane during the decomposition process.  For these and other more technical reasons, only oxo-biodegradable can be economically recycled.

So, if you are environmentally conscious, look to be a consumer of oxo-biodegradable consumer plastics.  Atlantic Poly specializes in producing custom oxo-biodegradable consumer plastics and we will be glad to help you and your company “go green” in a most economical fashion.