Biodegradable vs Compostable: What’s the Difference Between These Eco-Friendly Words?
Going green? There are so many little things each of us can do every day that translate to big changes for the world. That extra effort you put into your recycling bins really does make a difference.
In fact, everything you use makes an impact on the environment, good or bad. That’s why finding ways to minimize that carbon footprint as we leave our real footprints (and paw prints!) behind is the best way to help.
That brings us to the topic of biodegradable and compostable. If you’re scratching your head while scratching a furry friend’s belly wondering what the difference is, allow us to introduce you to these terms and how they can provide an eco-friendly solution for our environment to keep it beautiful.
What it Means to be Biodegradable
Remember biology in school? Perhaps that was a little longer ago than any of us care to admit, however, the prefix of “bio” offers a great clue in the meaning here. Anything that is biodegradable can be broken down by a biological process. Think bacteria or fungi.
Quite simply, it’s just nature doing what it does best, breaking down the materials and returning them back to their original forms. Many things are biodegradable when allowed for enough time to break down. That means that even things like plastics (those poop bags for your tail-wagging buddy) and diapers are technically biodegradable.
But wait! Those things take years. And years. And yearssssss. In fact, they take so long to decompose that your great-great-great-great grandchildren will be long gone while those things are still in your local landfill. Yuck, right?
So, while something you buy might say it’s biodegradable on the label, which is a technicality of course, you’ll be better served and serve the world better when you shop for green products that take less time for biodegradation.
How About Compostable Items?
Now, it’s highly likely you know what a compost heap is even if you don’t have one yourself. This is when organic materials (think food scraps…mmmm…scraps!) decomposes and becomes fertilizer which you can use on your garden and continue the beautiful cycle of plant life.
Basically, composting is little more than recycling for organic waste so it gets reused. It’s a really great idea but for packaging, it’s a bit different. Simply put, the product can be made into compost if it goes to an industrial composting facility.
Why is that important? Because compostable products don’t always become naturally biodegradable in that landfill. They need certain terms and conditions which can only be found at those industrial compost facilities. So unfortunately, they will take longer to decompose in a landfill setting, particularly if there’s no oxygen in one of those air-locked places. Compostable products can be a great choice for the environment though you will need to make sure of those terms and conditions first.
Biodegradable and Compostable: Here’s the Difference!
Basically, compostable products must be in a special setting to break down properly (unless it’s food and you have a compost heap). Biodegradable products will break down naturally without any special help. Composting is faster but only if proper conditions are met.
Don’t let your head spin though. Instead, wag your tail (oh wait, you don’t have one!) and know you’re making a positive difference for our environment when you choose biodegradable or compostable products that are made with the right materials.
Kermit the Frog famously sang that it’s not easy being green, but we beg to differ! Being proactive about the products you choose and what those buzzwords mean on the labels can help make all the difference in the world.
Now imagine if we can get everyone on board with these changes. We’d be doing so much good. Together as a pack, we can help bring eco-friendly practices and make them the standard for the sake of our environment. Join the movement!