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The Difference Between Biodegradable and Compostable.

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Author : jolly
Update time : 2019-12-04 10:32:20

In the never-ending search of sustainable flexible packaging products and solutions, we often see the terms compostable and biodegradable, but what do they mean? Which one is more eco-friendly? Today, let's learn about these two types of packaging together.

What is biodegradable?
Biodegradable substances, usually made of organic matter such as plants and animals, or similar artificial substances. If an environment- friendly product is biodegradable. It means that the product can be broken down and return to nature by microorganisms.
In fact, if given enough time, lots of things are biodegradable. However, when packaging companies say their products are biodegradable, what they really mean is to put them in landfills. These products can be degraded within a few months (about one year). When purchasing green packaging, the less time for biodegradation the better.

What is compostable?
In the packaging industry, composting refers to the use of decomposed and recycled organic materials as fertilizers and soil conditioners, It is a process of reusing organic waste.
In addition to being biodegradable by microorganisms, "compostable" plastic must  meet a time requirement. For example, ASTM 6400 (USA Biodegradability System), ASTM D6868 (Specification for Biodegradable Plastics for Surface Coating of Paper or Other Compostable Media) or EN 13432 (Euro Composting and Biodegradation-Test Scheme) Standards specify that when put compostable packaging into industrialized composting environment: temperature is about 60 ° C, and microorganisms must be present. The compostable packaging can biodegrade within 180 days.

What's the difference?
The main difference between compostable and biodegradable products is that compostable products require a specific environment to decompose, while biodegradable products decompose naturally. Generally speaking, composting is a faster process, but only under the right conditions. Both products are better for the environment than plastic products that can take hundreds of years to break down.

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