There are 2 main types of biodegradable plastics: oxo-biodegradable and hydro-biodegradable. Both first undergo chemical degradation, the former by oxidation and the latter by hydrolysis, resulting in physical disintegration of the plastics and a drastic reduction in molecular weights. In both cases, biodegradation follows with the same end result – conversion into carbon dioxide, water and biomass.
In terms of differences, hydro-biodegradable plastics degrade and biodegrade more rapidly, and tend to have much shorter lifespans than oxo-biodegradable plastics. In contrast, oxo-biodegradable plastics are less expensive, possess better mechanical properties and are easier to process and manufacture (as they can be incorporated into standard manufacturing processes without the need for specific manufacturing equipment).