biodegradeable vs compostable

Biodegradeable vs Compostable

At Hummingbird Sings, this is a question that comes up from time to time, and I thought I would do my best to explain the difference, in simple terms! 

In order to fully understand the impact that different materials have on the environment, it’s crucial to examine and learn about the terms used to define these materials.  Two terms which are used often are biodegradable and compostable.  So, what exactly do these terms mean?

I’ll start with biodegradable:   Biodegradable refers to the ability of materials to break down and return to nature.  In order for materials to qualify as biodegradable, they must completely break down and decompose into natural elements, within a relatively short time after disposal.  Typically, this takes anywhere between 3 months to a year, depending on the materials themselves, and various factors such as temperature and the amount of water.  That’s much, much quicker than their synthetic counterparts, they take a staggering several hundred years!

On to compostable materials, compostable materials are similar to biodegradable, as in they are both intended to return to the earth safely.  However, compostable materials go a step further by providing the earth with nutrients once they have completely broken down.  These materials can be added to compost piles, breaking down to become nutrient-rich soil.  Compostable materials create something called humus, that is full of nutrients and great for plants! Usually, this process occurs within 45-60 days, depending on the material type.  In summary, compostable products are biodegradable, but with added benefits to the earth!

If you don’t compost at home, commercial compost facilities are expanding around the country.  Check your local Council to find out where one is located near you! 

We stock a variety of compostable products at HbS, Biobag is made from Corn starch, they completely break down in green bins, very handy if you don’t compost at home!  All our products are biodegradable, contents and packaging! Hope this helps!

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