Oxo-biodegradable plastic is made by blending a pro-degradent additive into the plastic during the extrusion process. The additive causes the molecular structure of plastic to break down when exposed to head, sunlight and air. The plastic will eventually be in a state where it can be digested by microorganisms. At this point, the plastic will degrade at a faster rate until it has fully degraded into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass.
Oxo-biodegradable plastic is often referred to as “degradable” plastic, since it does not require a biologically active environment to start degrading. Microorganisms help to speed up the degradation process. But they’re not required. This gives oxo-biodegradation a distinct advantage over prior methods for degrading plastics.
The degradation time varies depending on the amount of exposure to degradation promoters (sunlight, heat, and microorganisms). Traditional plastic garbage bag in the general market are not easy to decompose for hundreds of years, while oxo-biodegradable plastic can degrades quickest in the exact situation we want it to: when it becomes litter, degrading will happen even if the plastic is left in the open air! This is an optimal situation for consumers. When the plastic is used properly it will last many years, but once it becomes litter it could degrade within 9 to 12 months.
In a landfill, oxo-biodegradable plastic will degrade quickly if oxygen is available to assist the degradation process. However, unlike other types of degradable plastic, oxo-biodegradable plastic will not release methane as it degrades. This is another advantage over prior forms of biodegradable plastic, pollution and waste management issue will be improved at the same time bringing a better living environment!