As awareness for sustainable living is increasing among the masses, two terms that repeatedly come up are “Biodegradable vs Compostable.” They are often used interchangeably. Despite their apparent similarity, these phrases refer to various product kinds with unique traits and environmental effects.
This blog will dive deep into the similarities and differences between biodegradable and compostable products. Weighing their benefits against their drawbacks and discussing their environmental impact on our planet.
To comprehend the dissimilarities between Compostable and Biodegradable products, it is crucial to have a grasp of the composting process. Under ideal conditions, compostable materials degrade within a few months, much quicker than biodegradable materials. These materials are usually made from food scraps, grass clippings, paper, and cardboard.
On the other hand, Biodegradable products are usually made from natural materials such as plant-based plastics or organic fibers. Non-compostable materials take longer to degrade than compostable materials, ranging from months to years, depending on the material and environmental factors like sunlight, air, and moisture.
By definition, both of these materials may seem quite similar. But that’s a complete misinterpretation of both products. They may have a few similarities but have distinct features that should not be ignored. One of the major differences between biodegradable and compostable bags is that compostable bags need specific conditions to decompose, while biodegradable bags can decompose in various environments.
The other major difference is the release of chemicals while these products decompose. Biodegradable products are known to release chemicals harmful to the environment while they decompose. Compostable products produce nutrient-rich soil beneficial for agriculture and gardening during decomposition.
Biodegradable products can be disposed of in regular trash, decomposing naturally. whereas compostable products need a specialized composting facility for them to decompose under controlled conditions. Hence, one of the major differences is the waste management of both these products. This also means that due to the resources required, compostable products may not be suitable for every community as they may not have access to the composting infrastructure.
The environmental impact of these products is a complex issue in itself. Several factors need to be taken into account when discussing the environmental impact. These factors range from the manufacturing process and the raw materials used to the disposal methods employed for these products.
One thing is for sure: both biodegradable and compostable products reduce the environmental impact caused by plastics and other non-biodegradable products. However, these products may still cause environmental harm, albeit to a lesser degree. Let's explore their potential impacts.
Due to a lack of awareness, these products are often not disposed of properly, which harms the surrounding soil and water bodies. Moreover, producing Compostable or Biodegradable products require immense resources and energy, causing emissions of greenhouse gasses that may also harm the environment.
Now that we have discussed what biodegradable and compostable products are, their distinctive features, and the environmental impact that these products may have. Let’s put things into perspective and summarize for you the benefits of using these products and the cost with which these benefits may come. Compared to the usage of plastics and other non-biodegradable products.
Today we live in a world where consumers are not unaware of the products they use and the impact that they may have on the planet. Consumers are conscious of the harm that certain products pose to the environment. Hence there is a huge surge in demand for products made of biodegradable and compostable materials.
Businesses and corporations do not want to gain a negative reputation for being a source of environmental catastrophes hence are moving towards using such materials for their products, creating a huge demand that will increase in the years to come.
There has been a huge debate on how the mass usage of plastics causes them to accumulate on the planet, whether on landfill sites or in the oceans causing great damage to our ecosystem and the marine environment.
Read More: Biodegradable Packaging: The Need Of Modern Era
Biodegradable and Compostable materials are countering this issue with their ability to decompose in a time as few as a few months. The time to decompose may vary, as discussed earlier in the article, but when it is compared to the time plastics take to decompose (Hundreds of years). These products can be termed heroes for our environment.
Composting produces nutrient-rich soil for agriculture, and governments worldwide are imposing fines on businesses using plastics, causing a shift to be compostable and biodegradable materials. These materials rely on renewable energy sources, but their production costs and infrastructure needs are higher than plastic.
Improper disposal due to a lack of composting facilities can harm the environment, and the durability of compostable/biodegradable products is lower than plastic counterparts.
It is a trade-off between our efforts to conserve our environment for future generations and the potential obstacles to the measures we take to do that. There are situations where biodegradable and compostable products can provide benefits that outweigh their costs.
For example, in regions where laws require their use, compliance can help businesses avoid penalties while enhancing their image as ecologically responsible. In cases where it is essential to conserve resources, utilizing renewable materials to create biodegradable and compostable products can aid in preserving finite resources like oil.
On the other hand, there are cases where the expenses of using these products may exceed their benefits. For example, conventional plastic products might be a better alternative in applications where toughness is crucial.
Furthermore, without adequate disposal infrastructure, biodegradable and compostable products may not degrade as intended, resulting in environmental harm. To make an informed decision, we need to adopt a balanced approach that accounts for both these products' ecological benefits and economic costs. As demand for these products grows and production techniques improve, we may anticipate decreased costs.
Read More: How Custom Wrapping Paper Can Influence Emotions
We also offer various customization options, including different materials, sizes, and finishes. This means you can create great packaging, effectively showcase your products, and seamlessly fit into your brand strategy. We also understand the importance of affordability in the business world.
Therefore, we offer competitive pricing without sacrificing quality. You can get biodegradable vs compostable food packaging without breaking the bank.
Fill out the form and your dedicated packaging consultant will get in touch!