A ) DEGRADABLE PLASTICS. This general term defines the plastics subject to degradation by physical or biological factors (sunlight, heat or microbial action). The term “Oxo-degradable” refers to degradation accelerated by catalysts or other additives usually at high temperature. Oxo or photo-degradation of polyolefins or hybrids can originate some environmental problem. This kind of degradation will result in small polymer clusters (Oligomers) with consequent micro-pollution of landfill or marine environment. This process is very slow but will act as carrier for toxic chemicals into the natural environment.
B ) BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS. The 100% biodegradable plastics are classified as natural or synthetic polymers suitable for complete metabolic cycle by the micro-organisms present into the disposal system. The gradual and exhaustive assimilation process is measured by the total chemical conversion of the polymer‘s Carbon chain into carbon dioxide during the microbial process into the standard compostability reactor (See EN – 13432).
C ) COMPOSTABLE PLASTICS. The compostability of a biodegradable plastic depends upon many factors, included a standard time. According to the international Norms (European EN 13432 – ASTM D 6400 for compostable materials and ASTM D 6868 for biodegradable paper coating) these plastics shall biodegrade within 180 days into an industrial composting system under the standard conditions e.g. temperature (about 60° C) humidity, clusters of specified micro-organisms, etc. 100 % compostable plastic shall neither release oligomers into their environment, no heavy metals, toxins or anything could result dangerous for the surrounding nature.
D ) SUSTAINABILITY. Is the positive result of events or circumstances concerning the human and natural environments at present and future time. The best reference has been given by the Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. The Norway Brundtland Commission stated the Sustainability as a compromise between the real needs of the human beings and any kind of future development, including the continuity of economical and social institutional and environmental aspects both for Human society and non-human for natural environment.
“Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”