Is hydro-biodegradable better than oxo-biodegradable?

Release time:2023-09-18 Number of views: 66

Is Hydro-Biodegradable Better Than Oxo-Biodegradable?

In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the impact of plastic waste on the environment. As a result, various types of biodegradable plastics have emerged as a potential solution. Two common types of biodegradable plastics are hydro-biodegradable and oxo-biodegradable. The debate over which type is better has sparked a lot of discussions. This article aims to provide an objective analysis of the two types, exploring their differences, advantages, and disadvantages.

Before delving into the comparison, let's clarify what hydro-biodegradable and oxo-biodegradable mean. Hydro-biodegradable plastics are made from a blend of natural polymers and additives, primarily cornstarch and other plant-based materials. These plastics break down when exposed to moisture, heat, and microbial activity, ultimately returning to the environment as natural substances. On the other hand, oxo-biodegradable plastics contain additives like metal salts that promote oxidation. This accelerates the fragmentation process, causing the plastic to degrade into microplastics. These microplastics are then expected to biodegrade in the presence of oxygen.

Environmental Impact:
One of the key arguments against oxo-biodegradable plastics is the potential harm caused by the resulting microplastics. These microplastics can find their way into water bodies and soil, posing a threat to marine life and ecosystems. In contrast, hydro-biodegradable plastics do not leave behind microplastics. They break down into harmless substances, ensuring minimal environmental harm. Consequently, hydro-biodegradable plastics are more widely accepted as an environmentally friendly alternative.

Degradation Time:
Another aspect to consider is the degradation time of the plastics. Hydro-biodegradable plastics generally decompose faster than oxo-biodegradable plastics. While the exact degradation time depends on various factors such as temperature and moisture levels, hydro-biodegradable plastics tend to break down within weeks or months, whereas oxo-biodegradable plastics may take several years. Shorter degradation times can reduce the accumulation of plastic waste and help address the urgent issue of plastic pollution.

Application Areas:
Both hydro-biodegradable and oxo-biodegradable plastics have their own specific applications. Hydro-biodegradable plastics are commonly used for single-use items such as food packaging, shopping bags, and disposable cutlery. Due to their shorter degradation time and minimal environmental impact, they are preferred for items that are likely to end up in the environment. Oxo-biodegradable plastics, on the other hand, find application in products that require a longer shelf life, such as agricultural films and certain types of packaging. These plastics provide a longer-lasting solution without relying on traditional non-biodegradable plastics.

Regulation and Standards:
The regulation and certification of biodegradable plastics can play a crucial role in determining their environmental impact and suitability. Unfortunately, there are no universally accepted standards for biodegradable plastics. However, certain certifications like the European Standard EN13432 and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D6400 provide guidelines and criteria for compostability. It is recommended to opt for products bearing such certifications to ensure that they adhere to recognized standards.

Consumer Awareness and Education:
Ultimately, consumer awareness and education regarding the differences between hydro-biodegradable and oxo-biodegradable plastics are vital. People need to understand the potential implications of their choices and make informed decisions. Governments and organizations can play a significant role in raising awareness through campaigns and educational programs, thereby encouraging the responsible use and disposal of biodegradable plastics.

While both hydro-biodegradable and oxo-biodegradable plastics present themselves as alternatives to traditional non-biodegradable plastics, hydro-biodegradable plastics are generally considered to be the better option. Their ability to degrade into harmless substances without leaving microplastics behind, coupled with their relatively shorter degradation time, makes them more environmentally friendly. However, it is important to note that the choice between the two largely depends on the specific application and requirements. Regardless of the type chosen, regulating bodies, industry players, and consumers must work together to ensure responsible production, usage, and disposal of these plastics for a sustainable future.