Given the raising environmental awareness and respect for the world that surrounds us, we are increasingly developing new materials to make environmentally friendly packaging. Among these solutions are biodegradable and compostable materials.
It is common to confuse the terms “biodegradable” and “compostable”. From Food Sourcing Specialists, we would like to offer some insight on the difference between the two.
A biodegradable material is one that simply degrades in the environment and a compostable material type of biodegradable material which, when degraded, generates compost that allows the growth of plants and living beings.
It is true that microorganisms intervene in the decomposition of a material that is considered biodegradable, but this does not necessarily imply that the result will be beneficial for the environment. Many of the materials that are considered biodegradable are biodegradable because of the addition of additives which cause the material to decompose within a certain time period into something called “microplastics”. These microplastics are very tiny portions of conventional plastics (such as PE, PP or PS) that are invisible to the human eye but do not disappear. Consequently, they have the same or worse effects than materials which, without this type of additives, take hundreds of years to degrade.
However, a compostable material is one that does not harm the environment when it degrades, but instead creates good quality compost and allows plants and living beings to germinate and grow in the resulting substrate.
There are two types of compostable materials: industrial compostable and home compostable. So how is a home compostable material different from an industrial compostable material?
According the certification organisation TÜV Austria, an industrial compostable material decomposes in an industrial composting plant at temperatures between 55 and 60 °C over a period of approximately 6 months. On the other hand, home compostable materials degrade in a more natural way, without the need for controlled conditions, and they turn into compost through the action of microorganisms, and the natural temperature and humidity, preferably inside a domestic container designed for this purpose.
At Food Sourcing Specialists we are developing our own home compostable material that we will use both to manufacture the packaging of our products and to sell to third parties.
If you would like to find out more about our compostable material, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.