By breaking down, it:
- reduces the buildup of litter in rivers and drains, thus reducing flood risk.
- reduces marine pollution
- reduces air pollution
- potentially reduces waste management dilemmas, if other packaging material also changes to compostable forms - see Compostable packaging.
Biodegradable versus compostable[edit | edit source]
Some plastics may biodegrade to small fragments of petrochemical-based plastic, reducing but not eliminating their negative impact on the environment.[verification needed]
True compostable materials break down completely into the kinds of materials typically found in compost.
Standards[edit | edit source]
ASTM International,W an international standards organization, defines testing methods for biodegradable plastic, in anaerobic and aerobic conditions and marine environments.. There are three ASTM standard specifications addressing biodegradable plastics in composting environments:
- ASTM D6400-04 Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics,
- ASTM D6868 - 03 Standard Specification for Biodegradable Plastics Used as Coatings on Paper and Other Compostable Substrates,
- ASTM D7081 - 05 Standard Specification for Non-Floating Biodegradable Plastics in the Marine Environment.