What actually does Biodegradable and Compostable mean?
The world of green, like any other industry, has its own language – for the person trying to make some environmentally changes to their life, it can get awfully confusing.
Biodegradable products break down through the action of a naturally occurring microorganism, such as bacteria, fungi etc. over a period of time. These products are usually made from plant or animal sources. Examples of biodegradable include paper, vegetable scraps and some forms of plastics made from ingredients such as corn starch.
According to the American Society for Testing & Materials, for plastic to be considered as compostable, it must be able to break down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass at the same rate as paper. It also needs to look like compost, should not produce any toxic material and should be able to support plant life. Compostable items are made from plant materials such as corn, potato, cellulose, soy and sugar.
Green packaging material should have the following certificates to verify its eco-friendly claims:
ISO 14001 – Environmental Management Standard
EN 13432 or ASTM D6400 – Standard Specification for Compostability
ISO 14855 – Determination of Aerobic Biodegradability