The Ultimate Guides
of Custom Packaging Boxes

what does biodegradable mean

What does “biodegradable” mean?

If you are more into a sustainable lifestyle you always have to be very careful when choosing material. Make sure that you are checking labels before buying a product and should be recycled easily. If you buy a product that is sustainable means you are more into promoting an eco-friendly environment and think good for the planet.

Biodegradable means the material that breaks down naturally and processes involving microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and other biological means. These breaks in the substance can be decomposed easily in the form of water, carbon dioxide, and biomass, which can then be reversed back into the environment without causing harm. Here are some key points about biodegradability:

Natural Breakdown Process

Biodegradability is all about the natural process that involves where organic substances being decomposed by living organisms. All the processes rely on the suitable environment including temperature, moisture, and the presence of microorganisms.

Time Frame

How quickly something breaks down naturally can differ. For example, leftovers might only last a few weeks before they decompose but some plastics can stick around for years, or even longer.

Environmental Impact

If you use biodegradable, you can make an impact on the environment. Using eco-friendly products means you live in sustainability and helping reduce the accumulation and pollution. If you use biodegradable material you are leaving an impact compared to non-biodegradable substances, which can persist in the environment for long periods.

How long does it take for things to biodegrade?

Ever wondered how long it takes for stuff to break down and return to nature? Well, ‘biodegradable’ is a bit of a tricky word because it doesn’t tell us how long the process should take. It could be as quick as your morning coffee break or as long as your entire life!

Take wood, for instance. If it’s in the form of a paper, it’ll break down pretty easily. But if we’re talking about wooden beams in a house, that could take decades or even centuries! And think about an insect – normally, they decompose quite fast, but if one gets stuck in amber, it could last for millions of years, just like in those dinosaur movies.

So, when people make things, they need to think about what’s needed for stuff to biodegrade properly. When people buy things it is super important to know that the product they are using should be encompass when they throw them away in the future:

Types of Biodegradable Materials

Common examples of biodegradable materials include

  • Organic Waste: Food scraps, yard waste, paper and cardboard.
  • Natural Fibers: Cotton, wool, silk and jute.
  • Biodegradable Plastics: Certain plastics designed to break down more quickly under specific conditions, such as polylactic acid (PLA) and polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)

What are the optimal conditions for biodegradation?

So, what’s the perfect setup for stuff to break down naturally? Well you need just the right mix of warmth, water, air and little critters like bacteria.

Take an orange, for instance. It can chill out in your fridge for quite a while because it’s cool and dry in there. But once you take it out and it hits the warmer, airier outside world, that’s when the breakdown party starts. Ever found an old orange at the bottom of your fruit bowl? It’s been hanging out in the dark and cold, but once it’s out in the open where it’s warmer and brighter, those tiny microbes go to town on it and make it go bad way faster.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is PVC biodegradable?

No, PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) is not biodegradable. It can persist in the environment for decades, if not centuries, and does not break down into natural components through microbial activity.

Is glass biodegradable?

No, glass is not biodegradable. Glass is made from natural materials like sand, soda ash, and limestone, but it does not break down into its natural components.

What is an example of biodegradable?

An example of a biodegradable material is a banana peel. Banana peels decompose naturally in the environment, breaking down into water, carbon dioxide and organic matter through the action of microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. Other examples include paper, cotton, and food scraps.

Does biodegradable mean safe?

Not necessarily. While biodegradable materials break down into natural components over time, this does not automatically mean they are safe in all contexts.

Related Article

What is the Difference between Compostable vs biodegradable?


You May Also Like...

Go from beginner to pro with our step-by-step custom box packaging resource guides. Get up to speed on the latest trends and must-know tips about product photography, box templates, box design, retail e-commerce, eco-friendly boxes, shipping strategy, box sizes, branding and more from a trusted industry leader.

Request A Callback