What is the difference between oxo-degradation and oxo-biodegradation?

Oxo-degradation is defined by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) in TR15351 as “degradation identified as resulting from oxidative cleavage of macromolecules”. In contrast, CEN defines oxo-biodegradation as “degradation resulting from oxidative and cell-mediated phenomena, either simultaneously or successively”.

The crucial difference, therefore, is that oxo-biodegradation features an additional biodegradation phase, which results in micro-organisms consuming the short plastic fragments (that result from initial oxidative degradation). Consequently, in the open environment oxo-biodegradable plastics, such as TDPA™ plastics, can break down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass, without causing the accumulation of micro-plastics (fragments).