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Can you distinguish between biodegradable and compostable degradability?


As long as you observe carefully, you will find that many companies biodegradable utensils around you will emphasize that the packaging is naturally degradable.

For example, a kind of naturally degradable plastic can be digested by microorganisms in seawater, lake water, anaerobic sewage ponds, and landfills by adding some kind of attracting microorganisms to achieve the purpose of biodegradation.

So, what exactly is biodegradation?

In fact, many people have some misunderstandings, thinking that China's biodegradation and compost degradation are important concepts.

In fact, there are some differences between them.

Today, the editor will lead you to understand the difference between biodegradable and compostable degradability.


Biodegradation represents a process of development.

It refers to the substances being eroded and decomposed by microorganisms (bacteria or fungi), and finally transformed into biomass, water and carbon dioxide metabolized into the natural environment. For example, vegetable skins, eggshells, paper, and garden waste can be directly degraded into water, carbon dioxide and biomass over time, and absorbed into the natural environment.

Biodegradation can be carried out under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions, and the biodegradation time under aerobic conditions is relatively short.

In contrast, materials such as foam, plastic, and aluminum require decades or even hundreds of years to decompose and are therefore widely regarded as non-biodegradable materials.

The biodegradation time of household goods

In addition, it is also worth mentioning that most "biodegradable" consumer products on the market are actually difficult to achieve the purpose of degradation through natural biodegradation, and degradation conditions must be created artificially.

This is another degradation mode we mentioned-compost degradation.


The term "compostable" refers to a cultural product or material that can be used for research on biodegradation in a specific, human-driven environment.

Unlike the completely natural biodegradation process, composting requires human intervention.

If these materials are compostable, it means that under the conditions of composting technology, that is, the presence of temperature, humidity, oxygen and microorganisms, it will be decomposed into carbon dioxide, water and nutrient-rich compost within a certain period of time. Our company usually needs several months or 1-3 years for the composting process. There are two main types of compost

01 Home composting

Home composting involves collecting food waste into a trash can or a pile of waste, mixing it with yard waste, and regularly breaking it down into more basic organic matter. Household composting containers are small in capacity and usually exposed to ambient temperature. In this case, the compost material will decompose within 180 days.

02 Commercial or industrial composting

Commercial or industrial design composting technology includes screening and sorting organic and inorganic materials, using chippers and grinders to decompose them, and creating an optimal humidity, temperature, and oxygen environment. The same compostable material will decompose within about 90 days of development under such economic conditions, which is about half of household compost.