Most people believe that all eco products are Biodegradable. This means that the product will break down naturally once disposed off.
However, this might not be completely true. Eco-friendly products come in two major classifications. These are biodegradables and compostables.
First, we need to understand the primary difference between Biodegradable and Compostable products.
What are Biodegradable products?
Biodegradable products are the products that can be broken down naturally with the involvement of microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria. The product will be typically turned into its basic elements which are water vapor, and carbon dioxide.
From a technical point of view, all products are biodegradable. But the million-dollar question is, how long will it take.
Just take a look at how long your standard household products decompose.
- Banana Leaf: 2-5 weeks
- Cotton: 1-5 months
- Thread: 3-4 months
- Rope: 3-14 months
- Cotton Shirt: 2-5 months
- Nylon: 30-40 years
- Milk packet: 5 years
- Tin can: around 50 years
- Leather shoes: 25-40 years
- Sanitary napkins: 500-800 year
- Perfume bottle: 200-500 years
- Fishing rod: 600 years
- Plastic containers: 70-450 years
- Plastic bag: 500-1000 years
It is interesting to note that products that are made of completely natural raw materials take relatively less time to decompose.
Biodegradable plastics decompose relatively faster as compared to their counterparts, which might take several hundred years from the date of disposal. Needless to say, switching to biodegradable products is an eco-friendly solution.
Most biodegradable products are made out of sustainable plant products.
Common raw materials such as corn starch, sugarcane starch, bamboo, cork and so on. are typically used. The essential advantage of biodegradable materials when compared to compostable ones is that they do not require any specific setting to break down.
What are Compostable products?
Unlike biodegradable products, compostable products do not decompose naturally in the environment
However, these products will fully decompose into compost if a specific setting is provided.
Compostable products are made out of pure natural materials such as starch and won’t leave any toxic residue as they break down.
For composting, an industrial facility is required, which can provide the right set temperature, pressure and moisture conditions to break down the product into compost. Compostable products don’t always decompose naturally in a landfill as it requires oxygen in plenty to undergo the breakdown.
Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that all your compostable waste is going to the compost facility.
Both biodegradable and compostable products are however, a great boon to mother nature, as they help to minimize the environmental footprint to the maximum possible extent.
How to break down compostable products?
It is advisable to take a compostable item to the nearby composting facility. Commercial composting facilities can provide the right set of equipment and temperature to enable a quick breakdown of the products.
Compostable products can also be treated in a biogas plant to create methane, which serves as an excellent type of fuel.
How to break down biodegradable products?
Although biodegradable products break down naturally in the environment, it might not decompose as quickly in your home compost, as you might have originally thought.
If you happen to stumble across a classy advertisement stating a product to be perfectly biodegradable in your home compost, it is often a half cooked truth to attract more customers.
Just like compostable products, biodegradable products need a commercial composting facility to break down completely.
Need for environmental awareness
Our planet in the last few decades has reached a point whereby environmental pollution has been pushed to the maximum possible limits. Governments all over the world have started promoting and funding eco-friendly innovations to fight against environmental degradation.
Add new initiatives and laws are being considered all around the globe, biodegradable eco products are definitely going to be a very important part of our future.