Compostable vs biodegradable

2018-11-15

Biodegradable and compostable are terms used when describing organic materials breaking down in a specific environment. Both terms are often used when defining environmentally friendly products. The term biodegradable is very often misused in marketing and advertising of products and materials that are not actually environmentally friendly. (The State of California outlawed the use of the terms “biodegradable,” “degradable,” or “decomposable,” or any form of those terms because of all the abuse and greenwashing.) Please only uses the term “Compostable” when describing, marketing, and labeling your products. 


Biodegradable

The definition of biodegradable is that a material is capable of undergoing biological anaerobic or aerobic degradation leading to the production of CO2, H2O, methane, biomass, and mineral salts, depending on the environmental conditions of the process. An important role in biodegradation is played by microorganisms, which are present in the environment and fed mostly by organic waste. However, unlike compostable, the term biodegradable means very little as everything is biodegradable given time. Thus, it is very important to specify the environment where biodegradation is intended to take place.


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