Ahhh, you’ve picked up on one of the most confusing distinctions in our industry: biodegradable vs. compostable. Even we get tripped up sometimes! Biodegradable simply means that a material or product is created from biological sources, such as paper or plants, and will break down into something over time. What biodegradable does not tell you is what that material or product will break down into and how long it will take. Some biodegradable products are actually harmful to the environment because they break down into micro-plastics! Compostables on the other hand will not create harmful micro-plastics when they get broken down and have a very specific and certified time-limit: they break down with food waste into nutrient dense compost in a commercial composter within 12-weeks. Remember, all compostable products are inherently biodegradable as they are created from biological sources and will break down. However, not all biodegradable products are compostable. We are pro-compostables and always encourage customers to do their due diligence on any products that only claim to be biodegradable.
And don’t be fooled, biodegradable doesn’t necessarily always equal sustainable. Often, when marketing materials use the term “biodegradable” we encourage you to ask more questions: after how long? In what environments? What will it break down into? Will it break down into environmentally beneficial materials? We would never encourage a biodegradable only product. It’s why we sell compostable products which have certified answers to these questions: after 12-weeks, in a commercial composting facility, into nutrient dense compost with food waste, and yep – great for growing more plants.