When we think about sustainability, especially when it comes to packaging, the term BIODEGRADABLE comes straight to mind. At the beginning, however, let’s look at the difference between the materials that are biodegradable and compostable and so called bio-plastic.
BIODEGRADATION is the process by which microorganisms in the environment use a substance as food and transform it into compost through the digestion process without any additives or special conditions.
COMPOSTABILITY indicates that a given material can end up in the composter and will decompose there in a certain amout of time. The obtained compost, however, must meet specific quality requirements. Composability is then more than biodegradability. There are two types of compostability certificates: in home conditions of ‘OK Compost Home’ and in industrial conditions ‘OK Compost Industrial’.
Plastics with a home compostability certificate will actually decompose in the home composter. The problem is that there are few materials with such a certificate.
Industrial compostability certification is more common. However, there are very few industrial composting plants, which is why bio waste waste usually does not end up there.
BIO-PLASTIC – by bio-plastics we mean materials made of raw materials of biological or plant origin, in place of petroleum derivatives. Such materials are not biodegradable in any way. Only the raw materials needed to produce them were obtained from renewable sources. More about it in our Bio-Based category here (link).
So is it worth buying biodegradable labels? In our opinion … not really. This is due to the lack of infrastructure for collecting and industrial composting of biodegradable packaging. If the packaging and the label are OK Compost Industrial certified, we have nowhere to return it. Throwing it in a yellow container with foil will disrupt the recycling process, in a brown one as well, and with mixed waste, it will simply go to a landfill. Perhaps it will decompose there faster than ordinary plastic, but there are other ways to make the packaging have a much smaller negative impact on the natural environment. Also biodegradable materials are one of the most expensive ones. However, if you are convinced of the legitimacy of the use of biodegradable materials, write to us and we will be happy to present the possibilities in this regard.