Today manufacturers packaging products boast environmentally-friendly benefits like "biodegradable" and "compostable" materials. What exactly do these terms mean, and what is the actual difference in them? To completely understand the impacts that packaging materials have on our environment, it is necessary to examine and understand the terms used to define and promote these materials.Thiss doenst mean they are intentially making products that will harm our earth it just means they are tyring to do what is the most cost effective for them right now. We all know that long term has to be evaluated also when producting items.
What Does Biodegradable Mean? Biodegradable refers to the ability of a material to break down and return to nature. In order for packaging products or materials to truthfully be biodegradable, they have to completely break down and decompose into natural elements within a short time after it has been disposed of - typically a year or less. The ability to biodegrade in our landfills helps to diminish the buildup of waste, providing a safer, cleaner and healthier environment. Materials that are biodegradable include corrugated cardboard, wood, and even some plastics. Most plastics unfortunately are not biodegradable - meaning they will not break down after disposal and can remain on the planet as waste for decades.
What Does Compostable Mean? Compostable materials are much like biodegradable materials, as they are both are designed to return to the earth safely. However, compostable materials go one step further by replenishing the earths nutrients once the material has completely broken down. These materials are often added to compost piles, which are designated sites with specific conditions dependent on wind, sunlight, drainage and other factors. Biodegradable materials are designed to break down within landfills, compostable materials typically require special composting conditions. Compostable packaging materials include starch-based packing peanuts - an alternative to Styrofoam loose fill packaging that can be dissolved in water and added to composts for safe disposal. Both are better alternatives to items that are designed only with their used in mind and not where the product will end up and remain for years and years.
Think about this next time your grocery asks you if you want your groceries in paper or plastic Also remember this when you purchase household productts, soaps, shampoos and trash bags. There are so many items now in our stores that are evnviornmental friendly it just takes a little bit of time to do the research. Educate you kids too!!
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