While not brand new, or indeed the only option, there is one type of bag that seems to be gaining popularity on the market as awareness of the environment increases. These are biodegradable OXO plastic bags that have spread to many regions of the world in recent years.
These bags have a traditional composition, but including small amounts of biodegradable additives in the manufacturing process can change the behavior of plastics in general. The two most common additives used by raw material suppliers to make degradable plastic carry bags are the d2w and P-Life brands.
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These catalysts are specially designed to reconstruct polyolefin polymers such as polypropylene and polyethylene (often used in the manufacture of plastic bags) to convert from non-degradable polymers to oxo-biodegradable plastics.
Degradation starts with a chemical method (oxidation), followed by a biodegradation process. This process starts after a predetermined period of time, which basically means that at the time of manufacture the additive inclusion level allows a built-in programmed life. The initial oxidation process then starts when this programmed life is reached and the product is no longer needed.
Unlike plastics in general, not only biodegradable plastic bags from Oxo are broken. Bacteria and biological organisms control the degradation process after the additive reduces the molecular structure of the plastic to a level suitable for living microorganisms to gain access to the carbon and hydrogen produced. These bags are then "biodegradable".
Although other forms of biodegradable plastic bags exist that focus on hydro-biodegradable and photo-biodegradable processes, the structure of oxo-biodegradable plastics is becoming increasingly economical and perhaps the least effective across the spectrum of environmental protection.