Plastics whose components are biodegradable.
The degradation process of biodegradable plastics can include various abiotic and biotic steps occurring in parallel or subsequently, but the final step of biological mineralization must always be included.
Biodegradation of plastics occurs when the organic material of the plastic is used as a source of nutrients for biological systems (organisms).
Biodegradable plastics can be based on renewable raw materials (e.g., starch) or on non-renewable/fossil raw materials (e.g., crude oil) that have been processed in chemical or biotechnological processes. The source or process by which the materials are produced does not affect their classification as biodegradable plastics.
The rate of biodegradability of a plastic article not only depends on the specific material but also on the surface-to-volume ratio of the product, e.g., its material thickness.
Microorganisms recognize biodegradable plastics as food and consume and digest them.