Biodegradable waste: How to go green

Learn the difference between what is biodegradable and what is compostable in this handy break-down of how to go green.

Updated

plastic bottles in a blue plastic basket

Sustainability and eco-friendly are hot topics nowadays, making green a very popular color. More and more households are trying to find greener ways to live. But with such a buzz around this topic, there’s an inevitable surge in curiosity and confusion. The most common questions surrounding the green movement include: ‘what is biodegradable waste?’, ‘what kind of materials are biodegradable?’, and ‘what is the difference between biodegradable plastic and compostable plastic?’.

With so many questions, Cleanipedia is here to answer any and all that you may have about biodegradable waste. In this article, we’ll address the differences between biodegradable and compostable, as well as the steps you can take to implement biodegradable alternatives in your home.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s go green!

Top tipDon't think you have to do all of it at once! Start by making small changes and with time it will become a habit.

What is biodegradable? What is compostable?

If you’re wondering ‘what is biodegradable?’ you’ve come to the right place. But first thing’s first, what differentiates biodegradable from compostable? The biggest difference between biodegradable and compostable is that biodegradable materials can break down naturally, while compostable products need a specific setting. Composting is usually a speedier process, with biodegradable material requiring bacteria, fungi, or another biological process to help disintegrate it.

What is biodegradable plastic? This is when plastic is made from all-natural plant materials, rather than traditional chemical fillers. In contrast, compostable plastic is plastic material made from renewable materials that can be broken down through composting.

Below are examples of biodegradable materials:

  • Plant products
  • Wood
  • Paper
  • Food waste
  • Leaves, grass clippings
  • Remains of dead creatures
  • Human and animal waste

And here you will find examples of compostable materials:

  • Fruit and veggie scraps
  • Crushed eggshells
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Used paper napkins and paper towels
  • Shredded paper products
  • Stale bread products
  • Used matches
  • Grass clippings, dead leaves

Now that you have a basic understanding of what kind of materials are biodegradable and compostable, it’s time to learn how you and your family can live greener at home.

Steps to go green:

  1. Start a compost: Consider starting your very own compost at home. This is something that you and your entire family can take part in that not only helps the environment but will teach your children the value of reducing waste.
  2. Save your plastic: It’s no secret that plastic takes a major toll on the environment. Encourage your family to recycle your plastic in separate bins. You can also wash plastic bottles and utensils to reuse again later.
  3. Cut back on the paper towels: It’s shocking just how many paper towels people use on a daily basis without even noticing. Try to limit your paper towel consumption by switching to hand towels. This will help prevent waste, reduce your environmental impact, and will also encourage you to invest in towels that make for great household décor.
  4. Reuse shopping bags: It’s no wonder why plastic shopping bags are on the way out. More and more people are starting to bring their own bags to the grocery store with them to help save the environment. Consider having your own designated grocery and shopping bags so that you and your family no longer need the harmful plastic bags at the store.
  5. Start your own garden: Another fun idea to consider when going green is to start your own garden right at home. This is a great option for those who want to get their children more involved in sustainable living. You and your family will love planting and watching fresh fruit and veggies grow right in your own yard. Talk about eating fresh!

Looking to do more?

Just by reading this article, you are already taking admirable steps towards living a more sustainable, eco-friendly life. Once you understand the basics, such as what kind of materials are biodegradable and how to dispose of biodegradable waste, you can begin implementing the above tips in your own household.

If you’re looking for more biodegradable alternatives or ways to go green, there are plenty of options. For more information, check out Cleanipedia's top tips on how to save money by living more sustainably.

Originally published