Mikrobiell økologi

Mapping of Biodegradable Plastics and Environmental Effects


Report no:

Publishing: 15.06.2025


Key message:

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) is assessing potential environmental benefits and consequences related to the increasing use of biodegradable plastics. There is a lack of knowledge about the composition of products, degradation efficiency, and environmental impacts when used under Nordic conditions.

This is a self-initiated project where VKM aims to identify knowledge gaps and factors relevant for future risk-benefit assessments regarding the use of such products in Norway.


Plastic pollution and the spread of microplastics pose a serious and growing global environmental challenge, affecting wildlife, humans, and ecosystems. To reduce plastic pollution, plastics are being developed that can naturally degrade in the environment through microbial processes. Global production of biobased plastics has increased from 1.1 million tons in 2018 to 1.8 million tons in 2022, with estimates suggesting production will more than double by 2025. The use of biodegradable plastics is likely to increase in Norway.

There is a need to map the knowledge about the composition of products marketed as biodegradable plastic, their degradation efficiency, and the possible environmental consequences of their intended use under Norwegian/Nordic conditions.

VKM’s Panel on Microbial Ecology is responsible for this assessment. The work is planned to be completed by June 2025


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