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Agri & Gardening biodegradable or compostable  let s break it down | Newsletter General

Biodegradable Or Compostable? Let’s Break It Down

by: Sharai Hoekema
biodegradable or compostable  let s break it down | Newsletter

As always, there’s one thing that the packaging industry is good at. Providing all sorts of obscure and possibly misleading terms to let us believe it is one thing or another. You know what I am talking about. Biodegradable, compostable, bio-based, renewable. It is somehow gradable or bio-friendly, but what does it exactly mean? Do these products of a late-night game of Scrabble tell what you think they do? Let’s figure it out.

Biodegradable

The mother of all terms: biodegradable. One of those things that marketers noticed and figured that it would look good on, well, pretty much anything. It is meant to be a fluffy, do-well-for-the-world endearment. But what does it mean?

Going by the word itself, it merely says that over time, something is broken down (degraded) back to its natural components, thanks to a wealth of biological organisms. Zooming in on this explanation, one of the critical issues is that it merely has to be possible ‘overtime.’ This means that no length of time is given or set that dictates when something can potentially be biodegradable.

Eco cups, transparant, green print, fingers

Recommended: Fashion From Algae Absorbs CO2: Is It Wearable?

Eventually, this just means that pretty much everything around us is biodegradable to some extent. Everything will eventually turn into something else. Look at plastics. They may be degradable, but what few producers mention is how it generates a whole lot of methane while taking its sweet time to degrade. And methane happens to be the bad guy, even more, detrimental for our environment than carbon dioxide.

So basically, we are toying with a word to make it look good while it is not. Degradable merely means that living things will not eat it. It may break down, but not in a ‘biological’ manner if you will.

Plastics are decidedly not eaten by anything alive unless you count the sea life being suffocated in our oceans as they ingest it. It does break down but does so by falling apart as the polymers let go of each other. This is not ‘bio’ in any way. It only means that plastic turns into microplastics - something that is all around us, but that we are blissfully unaware of. Perhaps for the better, as we do not know what their impact on us and the environment may be.

Compostable

A very similar term, but once again, you got to mind the nuances. Compostable means to say that something is broken down by natural processes, after which it becomes something non-toxic and potentially nutritious. Think of food waste, cardboard, and newspapers. A smart guy somewhere thought to add the word ‘home’ to it, claiming that something is ‘home compostable’ if you can let this process take place at home.

There is some kind of standard. You have to apply to have your product tested and officially certified as compostable. While many people think that this also means that it will compost in your bin at home, the truth is that many of those products can only compost in certain circumstances - through forced processes. So while home composting may be the ultimate, you might just have to settle for commercial composting. Not bad, as long as you make sure to dispose of it correctly.

Recommended: Bioplastic From Fish Scale And Skin Composts Fast

Oxo-Degradable

Let’s be short and clear about oxo-degradable products. They should not be allowed to exist. While it may sound fancy, it is something to steer clear of. Plastics that are dubbed oxo-degradable are breaking down into smaller microplastics pieces. Plastic manufacturers perhaps believe that this term will lull consumers in thinking that this is better than regular plastics, but trust us, it is not.

Bio-Based

Also known as plant-based. Products with this title are usually made using something organic. Great for your marketing - but not so much for the environment. Even if your hemp plastic is produced in an entirely organic manner, it does not mean that it will break down as such. Quite the contrary, it is not always compostable and will not produce more oxygen than carbon dioxide. Looking from a distance, bio-plastics made using hemp or sugar are not that different from fuel-derived plastics. The lesson here is that the starting material does not impact biodegradability or overall sustainability by that much.

degrading hemp bottles
Bottles made from hemp

Recommended: Hemp: High-Performance Stuff For Now And Always

Renewable Sources

A proud statement that something was created using renewable resources, like wind or solar. Or, at the very least, that something was created while compensating for our use of that thing. Once again, just as for bio-based, all good and well that something is made sustainably, but this does not affect its ability to break down easier or better.

Recommended: Solar Space Farms: Next Step In Renewable Energy

Biodegradable Or Compostable? What Can You Do?

There is a term for all of this—Greenwashing, or using all kinds of unregulated claims to influence the consumer’s purchase decision. The only way to deal with it is by being - and staying - informed. Knowing the actual meaning is critical. It definitely would not hurt to spread this true meaning around a bit more. You might even appeal to your local government to help get proper legislation in place for the use of such terms.  

Words like this should never be used to mislead consumers. Their intentions to help make the world a better place should not be thwarted and polluted by false claims and labels. Instead, we should all find a better way of communicating what the best (or better) options are when it comes to taking care of our planet.

Recommended: Algae Canopy Miracle Works Better Than A Forrest: How?

Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below.
We try to respond the same day.

Like to write your article about biodegradable products and to compost?
Send your writing & scribble with a photo to [email protected], and we will write an interesting article based on your input.

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At this turbulent time for ‘all’ species and our planet, we are determined to inform readers about threats, consequences and solutions based on facts, not on political prejudice or business interests.

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Breaking News, as the world changes…

In our world, WhatsOrb refuses to turn away from the changes in our society and environment which succeeds each other at a rapid pace.

For WhatsOrb, publishing on the environment is a priority. We give reporting on climate, nature, waste, lifestyle and sustainable solutions the prominence it deserves.

At this turbulent time for ‘all’ species and our planet, we are determined to inform readers about threats, consequences and solutions based on facts, not on political prejudice or business interests.

WhatsOrb Breaking News will be published as soon as urgent events from around the world and startling sustainable innovations reach us.

If there is anything we should know and publish about, please send a note to: [email protected] or write your own story on: www.whatsorb.comthe only news site which gives you a ‘sustainable voice!’

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Biodegradable Or Compostable? Let’s Break It Down

As always, there’s one thing that the packaging industry is good at. Providing all sorts of obscure and possibly misleading terms to let us believe it is one thing or another. You know what I am talking about. Biodegradable, compostable, bio-based, renewable. It is somehow gradable or bio-friendly, but what does it exactly mean? Do these products of a late-night game of Scrabble tell what you think they do? Let’s figure it out. Biodegradable The mother of all terms: biodegradable. One of those things that marketers noticed and figured that it would look good on, well, pretty much anything. It is meant to be a fluffy, do-well-for-the-world endearment. But what does it mean? Going by the word itself, it merely says that over time, something is broken down (degraded) back to its natural components, thanks to a wealth of biological organisms. Zooming in on this explanation, one of the critical issues is that it merely has to be possible ‘overtime.’ This means that no length of time is given or set that dictates when something can potentially be biodegradable. Recommended:  Fashion From Algae Absorbs CO2: Is It Wearable? Eventually, this just means that pretty much everything around us is biodegradable to some extent. Everything will eventually turn into something else. Look at plastics. They may be degradable, but what few producers mention is how it generates a whole lot of methane while taking its sweet time to degrade. And methane happens to be the bad guy, even more, detrimental for our environment than carbon dioxide. So basically, we are toying with a word to make it look good while it is not. Degradable merely means that living things will not eat it. It may break down, but not in a ‘biological’ manner if you will. Plastics are decidedly not eaten by anything alive unless you count the sea life being suffocated in our oceans as they ingest it. It does break down but does so by falling apart as the polymers let go of each other. This is not ‘bio’ in any way. It only means that plastic turns into microplastics - something that is all around us, but that we are blissfully unaware of. Perhaps for the better, as we do not know what their impact on us and the environment may be. Compostable A very similar term, but once again, you got to mind the nuances. Compostable means to say that something is broken down by natural processes, after which it becomes something non-toxic and potentially nutritious. Think of food waste, cardboard, and newspapers. A smart guy somewhere thought to add the word ‘home’ to it, claiming that something is ‘home compostable’ if you can let this process take place at home. There is some kind of standard. You have to apply to have your product tested and officially certified as compostable. While many people think that this also means that it will compost in your bin at home, the truth is that many of those products can only compost in certain circumstances - through forced processes. So while home composting may be the ultimate, you might just have to settle for commercial composting. Not bad, as long as you make sure to dispose of it correctly. Recommended:  Bioplastic From Fish Scale And Skin  Compost s Fast Oxo-Degradable Let’s be short and clear about oxo-degradable products. They should not be allowed to exist. While it may sound fancy, it is something to steer clear of. Plastics that are dubbed oxo-degradable are breaking down into smaller microplastics pieces. Plastic manufacturers perhaps believe that this term will lull consumers in thinking that this is better than regular plastics, but trust us, it is not. Bio-Based Also known as plant-based. Products with this title are usually made using something organic. Great for your marketing - but not so much for the environment. Even if your hemp plastic is produced in an entirely organic manner, it does not mean that it will break down as such. Quite the contrary, it is not always compostable and will not produce more oxygen than carbon dioxide. Looking from a distance, bio-plastics made using hemp or sugar are not that different from fuel-derived plastics. The lesson here is that the starting material does not impact biodegradability or overall sustainability by that much. Bottles made from hemp Recommended:  Hemp: High-Performance Stuff For Now And Always Renewable Sources A proud statement that something was created using renewable resources, like wind or solar. Or, at the very least, that something was created while compensating for our use of that thing. Once again, just as for bio-based, all good and well that something is made sustainably, but this does not affect its ability to break down easier or better. Recommended:  Solar Space Farms: Next Step In Renewable Energy Biodegradable Or Compostable? What Can You Do? There is a term for all of this—Greenwashing, or using all kinds of unregulated claims to influence the consumer’s purchase decision. The only way to deal with it is by being - and staying - informed. Knowing the actual meaning is critical. It definitely would not hurt to spread this true meaning around a bit more. You might even appeal to your local government to help get proper legislation in place for the use of such terms.   Words like this should never be used to mislead consumers. Their intentions to help make the world a better place should not be thwarted and polluted by false claims and labels. Instead, we should all find a better way of communicating what the best (or better) options are when it comes to taking care of our planet. Recommended:  Algae Canopy Miracle Works Better Than A Forrest: How? Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your article about biodegradable products and to compost? Send your writing & scribble with a photo to [email protected] , and we will write an interesting article based on your input.
Stay Updated on Environmental Improvements And Global Innovations