Biodegradable and compostable plastics — challenges and opportunities

More and more plastic products are labelled as ‘compostable’, ‘biodegradable’, ‘oxo-degradable’ or ‘bio-based’. However, plastics made from bio-based materials are not necessarily compostable or biodegradable. Moreover, plastics that do biodegrade can be made from fossil fuel-based materials. What is the difference between compostable and biodegradable? What happens to biodegradable and compostable plastics when they are littered? Can citizens compost such products in their own gardens? Can such plastics be recycled? This briefing aims to answer these questions.

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