Plastics Industry commits itself to increase percentage of recycled products and evoke better civic discipline among masses- IndiaPosted on December 16, 2013 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News
While there are several additives to make plastics landfill biodegradable, what we should be careful is of greenwashing by people pushing oxodegradable additives.
1) An oxo-degradable additive causes a slow chemical reaction take place over 12-24 months which results in the plastic fragmenting into little bite sized pieces of plastic. This would be worse for the environment as these fragments blow and flow around the environment. This reaction has nothing to do with any biological activity. It is just a chemical reaction always going on. Citing biodegradable like a leaf is simply intentionally misleading the public as that will not happen. It will fragment and blow away making people believe it has gone but those plastic fragments are now making a plastic soup.
2) It needs sunlight and oxygen to progress too. Without those, the reaction stops and the plastic sits dormant like any conventional plastic.
3) If we really want to encourage recycling then oxo additives are a problem here too. Plastics with these additives in them cannot be mainstream recycled as they contaminate the new product and could cause it to start fragmenting too whether that is desired or not. They have to keep isolated and incinerated which is a large infrastructure problem for any country and essentially means their required special treatment will not happen.
Landfill-biodegradable additives are not a cure for littered plastic either. They only work where there is sufficient microorganisms to biologically degrade the additive enhanced plastic, such as in a landfill. However in these environments, the plastic does become truly biodegraded away to humus and biogas. Plastics with landfill-biodegradable additives are main stream recyclable as nothing happens till the plastic is exposed to microorganisms. Recycling is even encouraged. Examples of companies making landfill-biodegradable additives are ENSO and Biotec both in the USA.