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Question about biodegradable plastic

by Roya Mousazadeh

 

Dear Garrett Valentino,

I am Ph.D student on environmental Science. I have little knowledge on chemical formulae of biodegradable plastic additives. Specifically, I had some questions about your paper “microbial additives are an alternative to oxo-degradable”. If you could answer the following questions, I will be very grateful.
1. In that paper [Microbial additives are an alternative to oxo-degradable] could you please tell me the name of some MICROBIAL additives and in your opinion, which is the best additives for biodegradable plastics?
2. What kind of material are used in oxo-degradable additives and biodegradable additives?or What is the difference between the type of oxo-degradable additives and biodegradable additives?
3. What are the disadvantages of biodegradable plastics?
4. With regard to few possible disadvantages compared to normal or non-degradable plastics, do you believe biodegradable plastics are useful?

I look forward to hear from you as soon as possible.
Thank you very much for your time and I will grateful for your responses.

Best regards,
R.Mousazadeh


Comments (1)

  1. Green Plastics says:

    Garrett,

    Unfortunately, that paper was a guest article, so I am not expert enough to answer your first question.

    To address your second question: Other than the microbial additives discussed in that article (which you may be able to Google more about), most of the time that you see plastics companies advertising additives to make plastic “biodegradable” they are actually talking about additives that promote oxo-degradability. This is part of the big controversy around these additives, since many scientists do NOT believe that oxo- additives lead to TRUE biodegradability. We talk about this some here:

    http://green-plastics.net/posts/490/sorry-adding-chemicals-regular-plastic-biodegradable-work/

    The biggest disadvantage of biodegradable plastics is controlling WHEN the plastic degrades. Obviously, an ideal plastic will stay perfect and undegraded while you are using it, but then would degrade when you throw it out… but controlling that is extremely hard. There are some scientists working on concepts like “programmed-degradable plastic) to improve this. This idea is discussed more in the “Green Plastics” book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Green-Plastics-Introduction-Biodegradable-Plastics/dp/069104967X/ref=as_sl_pc_tf_til?tag=grstll-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=QM2753TKJ4YOXIXS&creativeASIN=069104967X

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