What Does “Biodegradable” Really mean

Biodegradable meaning is quite simple – ” the item will be able to degrade naturally without causing harm to the environment.”

E.g when something degrades naturally it wouldn’t leave any toxic chemicals or other harmful substances behind to cause harm or pollute the environment or animals. If it is really biodegradable it would not take years to degrade, it would not sit on a landfill taking up space unnecessarily years later.

The item will biodegrade into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms. But if in the wrong conditions it will not degrade so quickly.  Waste that cannot be broken down by other living organisms is called non-biodegradable. Human and animal waste. Examples of biodegradable waste are Plant products, wood, paper, food waste, leaves, grass clippings, natural products, and food waste.

Examples of Biodegradable materials include:

  • Human and animal waste.
  • Plant products, wood, paper, food waste, leaves, grass clippings, natural products.
  • Remains from the death of living creatures.

List of non-biodegradable wastes include:

  • Plastic products like grocery bags, plastic bags, water bottles, etc.
  • Metals, metal cans, tins, metal scraps, etc.
  • Computer hardware like glass, CD’s, DVD’s, cellphone, processed woods, cable wires, Styrofoam etc.

Compostable and biodegradable are often spoken about as the same thing. But they’re not the same thing.

Biodegradable packaging can be broken down WITHOUT oxygen and that it turns into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass within a reasonable amount of time. I’m not saying that this is the solution but it’s better than taking 200 or more years to degrade. If you read the label, ask questions and even better take a bag with you then that’s a good way to take control.

Compostable products and packaging degrade in a period of 4 to 6 months. Compostable packaging is capable of disintegrating into natural elements in a compost environment, leaving no toxicity in the soil. But if in the wrong conditions it will not degrade so quickly. This means that still making sure that it ends up in these conditions is necessary. 

Single use plastics have polluted our oceans, beaches, landfills and now they have started harming the animals we share the planet with. Plastics are something that can be stopped, without accepting a plastic bag we are saying NO to plastic and single-use items. When buying fruits and veg take with a mesh bag. Taking reusable bags and looking for food that is not wrapped in plastic is the answer we need. Getting a meal somewhere else or waiting until we get home if alternatives are not available. Being conscious of what happens next is most important and that is a start. Love your planet, love the animals which we share the earth with and you will love yourself. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat
Need a human to help?