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What Exactly are Bioplastics Anyway?

The term “bioplastics” is used to describe both fossil fuel-derived plastics that are biodegradable (they break down to some level at some point in time- could even be thousands of years out), and biomass or renewable resource-derived plastics (termed bio-based plastics).

Fossil fuel-based plastics that are supposedly biodegradable include PBS (polybutylene succinate) and PCL (polycaprolactone) because they can be “degraded with enzymes and microorganisms”; however, studies do not provide timelines for this to occur, or clarification that treated bioplastics (those containing common additives) are able to completely biodegrade within a specified timeline. Since bioplastics can include fossil-fuel-based plastics, products labeled simply as bioplastic do not provide an effective level of plastic pollution prevention. 

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