Compostable vs Biodegradable vs Recyclable
What does it all really mean ?
Consumer confusion abounds when the definitions of the words recyclable or biodegradable or compostable – bag or box or bottle come into question. Read the following definitions. To be sure, plastic NEVER DEGRADES it only breaks down into smaller pieces and gets in the food chain killing fish, birds, land mammals and more. Plastic is a wonderful invention but we’ve made too much of it without considering the consequences. I can’t prove it but I read somewhere recently that in the past FIVE years mankind has made more plastic than has ever been made since plastic making began. Whoooa !
Out of all the sustainability related terms you come across today, recyclable is probably the single most used and distinct of the three. Recyclable can be defined as “to make something new again” which, in its essence, is pretty simple.
The idea of the term recyclable is to find another use for something, whether it’s the same object or its restoring it to its original state and reusing it, drinking bottles become wearable fleeces and so on. This term applies to most materials that you see like metals, plastics, and papers and it is sometimes used as the “catch-all” term for a sustainable product.
Biodegradable, is similar to compostable but with a few distinct differences. The definition of biodegradable is, “capable of being slowly destroyed and broken down into very small parts by natural process, bacteria, etc.” While this does sound similar to the definition of compostable, notice the absence of nature’s plants.
Biodegradable objects can be much more than plants eg., papers, boxes, bags, and other items that have all been created with the ability to slowly break down until they’re able to be consumed on a microscopic level. This is one area you’re probably seeing a lot of manufacturers going with their products and overall it’s a pretty successful push.
Compostable – it’s about plants and nature
The term compostable is on the opposite side of the spectrum from recyclable where rather than reusing something you’re letting it break down. Compostable is defined as, “a decayed mixture of plants that is used to improve the soil in a garden.”
The definition itself is pretty self-explanatory, compost is made almost completely of plants of some sort that can ultimately be broken down into something called “Humus” (No, not like the stuff you eat).
Humus is then distributed into dirt to add new nutrients to create good soil for growing new plants. Compostable “plastic” behaves much like other compostable materials in the sense that it needs a catalyst such as heat or rain water to break it down into compost.
So, in the battle of recyclable vs. biodegradable vs. Compostable you can now correctly, and efficiently, identify each term independently. Compostable wins ⚽🥅 every time.
At Fresh Essential we have been advocating the need for compostable packing since we formed as a group of foodie individuals super keen on supplying the highest quality organic and conventional seeds, pulses, rice, spices and dried fruits at a reasonable price to everyone everywhere 👍👊🕶
Get in touch with Jake Judd to see what we can do for you. We will deliver all the time – on time – every time.