What’s the Difference between Degradable, Biodegradable, and Compostable

Switching from traditional disposable items to their eco-friendly alternatives is a modern trend that is being adopted by a majority of people worldwide. The change has made its way to the Middle East, with about 88 percent of people willing to spend more money on adapting to an eco-friendly routine, revised food consumption, and eco-friendly recycled products.

While choosing the safer options to consume or use eco-conscious products in your daily life that are friendly for the environment, you may have come across these phrases: degradable, biodegradable, and compostable. So, what do these phrases mean, and how can you achieve a minimum carbon footprint by understanding their differences, need, and implications for the environment?

Degradable, Biodegradable, and Compostable—The Difference

Degradable, biodegradable, and compostable products are manufactured from various materials and degrade in different ways. Here’s a complete analysis to assist you in making an educated selection when you plan to purchase an environmentally friendly material or buy non-toxic tableware.

Degradable Materials—What Do They Mean?

The majority of degradable materials are based on oil extracts. They degrade by chemical processes rather than organic degradation by microbes. Degradable plastic objects, unlike biodegradable materials, may degrade in anaerobic settings such as landfills. But, degradable goods do not entirely degrade and transform into organic compounds. Instead, they disintegrate into microscopic fragments that nonetheless have an environmental impact.


Some plastic, for example, may deteriorate and break down into little fragments that animals eat, causing serious problems in the natural food chain. It takes a lot longer for things to decay than for compostable or biodegradable materials to disintegrate.


Oxo-Degradable plastic–What Is It?

Oxo-degradable plastics are made out of petro polymers with additives like metal salts to speed up decomposition. Oxo-degradable goods break down into little, micro-plastic bits in a short time in hot, airy, and bright settings. On the other hand, oxo-degradable materials are neither compostable nor biodegradable and will not degrade to the cellular level.

Biodegradable Material—what does it Mean?

Biodegradable refers to a product that bacteria and fungus can break down into natural components, water vapor, and carbon dioxide. Technically, almost everything is biodegradable, albeit many items will take hundred years or longer to decompose.

To be labeled as biodegradable, items and materials must break down swiftly into natural components. Breakdown periods are normally limited to six to nine months by third-party entities. Below are some of the advantages of biodegradable goods:

  • Biodegradable goods degrade far more quickly than non-biodegradable ones.
  • Biodegradable goods are created from organic and sustainable materials, such as sugarcane and cornstarch, that aren’t dangerous to the environment.
  • They decompose into water vapor, carbon dioxide, and natural materials that contribute to the sustainability of the land rather than damaging it with harmful effects.

Biodegradable Products—How To Dispose Of Them

Biodegradable items should be disposed of by passing through commercial compost procedures or sent to a commercial plant for recycling since they can produce toxic methane gas in landfills. You may also see whether your neighborhood has a plant for biogas treatment, which converts biodegradable materials into methane, which is subsequently used to generate power.

Negative Impact of Biodegradable Products in Landfills

While biodegradable materials are an environmentally favorable alternative for households, industries, and restaurants, they have certain drawbacks. Biodegradable materials are often thrown away and placed into landfills.

the garbage man loading bags on the truck


As a result, this garbage piles up on one another. Since there is little to no oxygen present beneath the rubbish, beneficial microorganisms cannot survive.

Consequently, biodegradable materials degrade without oxygen, producing methane gas. Methane is a greenhouse (GHG) gas that’s harmful to the environment. Some landfills collect and utilize methane to generate power, while most don’t.

Compostable Materials—What Do They Mean?

Compostable refers to a product’s ability to decompose into natural elements in a compost environment. Plantation and other natural materials, such as bagasse, cornstarch, or PLA plastic, are commonly used to make compostable products.


Compostable items offer two advantages over biodegradable products: they decompose significantly faster, with many breaking down in under 90 days, and they disintegrate into nutrient-rich compounds, resulting in healthy soil.

Why Compostable Products must not be Recycled

Compostable products are not designed for recycling. If they’re mixed with non-compostable petroleum-based plastics, they can disturb and contaminate the recycling process. Contact local authorities or the official garbage management firm and inquire about nearby drop-off places for your compostable plastic goods.

Compostable Products–how to Dispose

Compostable materials do not decompose quickly in ordinary landfills. Thus they must not be discarded. For proper decomposition, compostable items must be disposed of in a waste composting machine for home. Compost heaps are populated with bacteria and attain extreme temperatures, allowing items to decompose swiftly.


Three garbage bins according to the category


Buy Eco Friendly Products for Sustainability

If you’re planning to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, decide to purchase bio-degradable products. Buy non plastic disposable products at TP Green.

TP Green is an online store that sells eco conscious products online. Whether you’re looking to buy disposable bin liners, non toxic tableware, or a home food composting machine—they’ve got it all at the best market rates.

Contact them and check out their range of affordable products online.


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