Biodegradable Vs Compostable – What’s The Difference?

Biodegradable Vs Compostable – What’s The Difference?

Biodegradable Vs Compostable – What’s The Difference?

Did you know that the difference between these two very similar words makes a BIG difference in our planet’s health?


One of these words could refer to something that pollutes our water or land for more than 200 years, while the other refers to something which completely disintegrates without a trace in only 3 months.
 
Do you know which one is which? In this article, we’re going to look at the differences and ask the question: “biodegradable vs compostable – which one is better for the environment?”

“Biodegradable” Sounds Good,
But It Isn’t!

Biodegradable materials, by definition, are materials that will become absorbed by the environment, and naturally go back to nature. So what could be wrong with that?
 
Well, the only problem is there is NO time frame on biodegrading… And almost everything biodegrades eventually! It could be 200 years from now or 1,000 years from now – technically it could still be CALLED biodegradable.
 
That’s the problem. Because there are no real requirements to claim that something is made of biodegradable materials (other than it eventually biodegrades), it doesn’t really mean anything.
 
The worst part is imagining how much “biodegradable” plastic is at the bottom of the ocean right now, affecting the gentle creatures there and causing them harm… Because “eventually” it will biodegrade in 200 years! It makes us shudder.
 
Luckily, there is something much better.

“Compostable” Ultimately
Means Good For The Environment!

Composting, on the other hand, has very rigorous standards – and timelines. For something to be called “compostable” it has to be able to be fully composted within a 12-week industrial composting process.
 
What is compost? It’s enriched soil that is frequently used as fertilizer. At the very least, a compostable item has to fully disintegrate into soil, leaving no trace toxicity behind.
 
That’s really different from the definition of biodegradable, isn’t it? There are multiple types of composting.

Composting You Can Do At Home

Do-It-Yourself composting is good for making compost from yard cuttings, small quantities of food scraps, and paper.
 
Before you begin making compost, it’s important to know what kinds of organic materials will turn to compost under which kinds of conditions.
 
That is too large of a topic for this particular article to cover, but here are some of the various ways you can create a compost environment:
  • Vermiculture or worms
  • Aerated static pile
  • Onsite composting

Home Composting 101

You can compost all of your old food scraps, old hay or straw and dead leaves, and even our CPLA cutlery sets! Get ready for a 12-week adventure in biochemistry and natural science with our Composting 101.

Read Full Article

Industrial Composting

These methods of composting generally require more time, energy, equipment, and space to perform than the popular DIY composting projects.
 
One example is an aerated windrow, which consists of a pile between 4-8 feet high and 14-16 feet in diameter. The pile has to be periodically turned either mechanically or manually to fully aerate.
 
There are also vessels roughly the size of a school bus which are mechanically turned to generate compost.
 
Compostable Plastic Transforms Into Compost Using Industrial Methods In 12 Weeks
 
No ifs, ands, or buts. That’s the definition of “compostable”. There are many “biodegradable” plastics which are NOT compostable, but there are no compostable products which are not biodegradable.

So What’s REALLY
The Best For The Planet?

We all use things and then those things go off to somewhere else. Ultimately, what matters is the end result. When you get rid of biodegradable plastic, it could be around for 200 years – who knows where it might end up? It may end up hampering a sea animal’s ability to swim, or it could end up in another country on a massive garbage pile, adding more damage to our already hurting planet.
 
When you dispose of compostable plastic at your local composting facility, they use it to make compost within 12 weeks. And shortly thereafter, it can be used as fertilizer to help new plants grow.
 
It ends up contributing to life again in a very short period of time.
 
The reason we’ve chosen compostable plastic for all of our products is because we believe in the harmony of life and that all of us have this one planet that we need to take care of together.
 
Instead of spreading the problem, compostable plastic can be a part of the solution. Do you want to be part of the solution, too? Then replace your plastic products with compostable alternatives!
 

Jake Eck

Jake has been a copywriter and blogger for the past seven years and has recently become a digital nomad to soothe his craving for world travel, currently cruising the U.S. in a converted camper van with his dog, Mara. He loves writing about saving our planet and figures there’s no better inspiration to write than setting up a table and laptop in America’s most beautiful national parks. When you don't see him writing, Jake finds peace in long drives with a stocked cooler of ice cold coconut water while dancing to the music from 90s rollerskating rinks!

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