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What Does Biodegradable Mean?

What Does Biodegradable Mean?

There is little doubt that we as a society have become more conscious of the impact we make on the world around us and the need to protect it. This brings us to the subject of biodegradable products.

When you are shopping for products, you tend to see a lot of different claims on products. If you are environmentally conscious, you probably keep an eye out for environmentally friendly products. Once such claim that is commonly made on products is that they are biodegradable. Well, what does biodegradable mean?

Biodegradable material is that which can be naturally broken down into organic components. The process can work in two ways. With aerobic degrading, the materials are broken down by bacteria in an oxygen environment. As you might guess, anaerobic degradation is the second method and does not require an oxygen rich environment. To satisfy this component, the materials comprising the product usually need to be organic to begin with, but not always.

Society is a beautiful thing. When a society shows an interest in some subject, businesses hustle to provide products in that gap. If you doubt this, look no further than hybrid cars. When a swath of society started showing interest in cars that were more fuel efficient and less harmful for the environment, every car manufacturer started producing hybrid cars. In perhaps the ultimate irony, there are now hybrid SUVs! Well, society has shown the same interest in biodegradable products, and the business industry has reacted.

Plastic products are all around us. Classic plastic products, however, are hardly biodegradable. The hall of shame in this regard is the plastic used to hold six packs of beer and soft drinks together. It takes 450 years on average for this convenience packaging to break down. 450 years! This is hardly good news for the plastic industry, so it has come up with something new that it likes to claim is biodegradable.

Bioplastics are the new craze in the plastic industry. Bioplastic is produced from the components of organic materials such as soy oil and corn starch. The goal with bioplastics is to produce a plastic that is… Well, biodegradable. The technology is fairly new, so nobody is really sure how well it degrades. It is generally considered to be superior to traditional plastic, but that isn’t really saying much given the 450 year life span of plastic six pack holders. The real question is how long will it take for the bioplastics to degrade? While there are certainly a lot of claims, independent studies have not yet produced definitive results.

From a practical perspective, you need to be careful about buying products that claim to be biodegradable. Technically, everything will eventually break down. Much like many over inflated supplement claims, may supposed biodegradable products may not deliver what they infer.

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4 Responses to “What Does Biodegradable Mean?”

  1. Hello admin , Why dont u put facebook badge on your blog? Because I want to follow your facebook. Thank’s Regards Owner of

  2. Collins Pt. says:

    Biodegradable plastic and packaging is a modern necessity for our ever-endangered environment.
    Now PLA has been used to line the indoors of Paper Cups in place of the oil based lining additional usually used, create Plastic Cups, Plates, Carrier Bags, Food Packaging and even Nappies.
    Eco Pure is our proprietary blend of organic materials that does not modify the base resin to which it is added.

    Thanks a lot for your information

  3. Oguz Flewelling says:

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