A bioplastic can be biodegradable if it derives from organic materials such as wheat, corn or beet. A bioplastic can be biodegradable and made up entirely or in part of annually renewable vegetable raw materials: in this case it is defined as bio-based.
Specific types of bioplastic can be used in agriculture for mulching in the form of biofilm and solve the problem of disposal, as the film is left to decompose naturally on the ground. Bioplastics can reduce the availability of food if produced from agricultural products such as corn.
The land needed to grow the raw material for the bio-based plastics currently produced around the world amounts to approximately 0.02% of the arable land. The biodegradation, if complete, brings the organic carbon of the compound to inorganic carbon, studied by inorganic chemistry.
In this case we speak of ultimate biodegradation, as the final products of this process are stable substances that cannot be further degraded. Otherwise in the case of incomplete degradation, called primary, there is a transformation of the original compound into less complex molecules but not yet brought to the inorganic state.
Biodegradation plays a fundamental role in maintaining the ecological balance of ecosystems and the planet in general as it allows the organic carbon, fixed during photosynthesis, to be reintroduced into the biogeochemical carbon cycle as mineral carbon.
The study: The role of waste management in reducing bioplastics' leakage into the environment: A review, published on the Bioresource technology, explained: "Bioplastics are becoming more and more widespread as substitutes for petroleum-derived plastics due to their biodegradability.
Bioplastics degradation under different environments has been described and reported to depend mainly on bioplastics' compositions and the environmental conditions. Incomplete degradation during waste management processes and leakage of bioplastics into the environment are becoming major concerns that need to be further investigated.
In this context, the present paper aimed to review recent literature dealing with biodegradation of bioplastics under industrial and natural environments, and to link it to the potential bioplastics' leakage into the environment.
Reviewed data were used to estimate the potential role of waste management processes in decreasing the potential leakage of bioplastics .Depending on or n bioplastics 'type and processing conditions, waste management can effectively reduce bioplastics' potential leakage, decreasing the concentration of these materials that can reach the natural environments."