Compostable v Biodegradable

Dec 20, 2023 | Sustainable living

Compostable and biodegradable are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings and implications for the environment. Understanding the difference between these two terms is important for making informed choices about the products we use and dispose of.

Compostable refers to materials that can be broken down by microorganisms into nutrient-rich compost. Compostable materials include things like food scraps, garden waste, and certain types of biodegradable plastics. These materials are safe to add to a compost pile or bin and will eventually break down into a soil amendment that can be used to fertilise gardens and lawns.

Biodegradable, on the other hand, refers to materials that can be broken down by microorganism over time. This includes materials like traditional plastics, which take hundreds of years to break down in the environment. While biodegradable materials will eventually break down, they can create microplastics, which can be harmful to the environment and wildlife.

The confusion arises when biodegradable plastics are marketed as an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional plastics. These biodegradable plastics are still not easily broken down in the environment, and the only way to break them down is by industrial composting which is not common in most places.

It is important to note that just because a material is biodegradable, it does not mean that it is safe for the environment. Many biodegradable materials can create microplastics and do not break down in a reasonable time frame.

When choosing products, look for the “compostable” label, this ensures that the product can be safely added to a compost pile and will break down into a beneficial soil amendment. Additionally, it is always important to reduce waste and consumption of single-use plastics as much as possible, and opt for reusable options instead.

In conclusion, compostable and biodegradable are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but have different implications for the environment. It is important to understand the difference between these two terms and make informed choices about the products we use and dispose of. By choosing compostable products and reducing our use of single-use plastics, we can help protect the environment and create a more sustainable future.

Sarah & Heidi xxx

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