Defining the term Bioegradable

Posted on November 13, 2011 by DrRossH in Plastic Waste News

As much as the USA FTC get criticised on their definitions and requirements for using the word biodegradable, they do have some good points and it would make discussions a lot more meaningful if people followed these points.  If people are not following these points then it leads people to think they are trying to hide facts about their product.   A good sales company would be proud of their products and state what their product can and cannot do, rather than just give an innocuous phrase of yes we supply biodegradable plastics.

1) If a claim of this plastic is biodegradable, then it should say where is it biodegradable?  In a landfill or in a compost facility, or is the claim made hoping it is biodegradable and by saying that others will believe it too.

2) Approximately how long would it take to biodegrade in its preferred environment?  1 yrs, 5 yrs, 10 yrs, 100’s of years.

Following those simple 2 steps will make all the discussions simpler.

If you are a buyer seeking biodegradable products, then you need to decide where you want the products to biodegrade.  No point in buying a compostable plastic if they are not going to a compost pile or it is planned to be recycled.  Similarly no point in buying a oxo plastic if they are going to go to a landfill or it is planned to be recycled.