What is biodegradable

Biodegradable is any thing organic that can be broken down by the enzymes produced by living organisms. Organic material can be degraded aerobically, with oxygen, or anaerobically, without oxygen. Another term related to biodegradation is biomineralisation, in which organic matter is converted into minerals.

"Biodegradable matter is generally organic material such as plant and animal matter and other substances originating from living organisms, or artificial materials that are similar enough to plant and animal matter to be put to use by microorganisms. Some microorganisms have the astonishing, naturally occurring, microbial catabolic diversity to degrade, transform or accumulate a huge range of compounds including hydrocarbons (e.g. oil), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pharmaceutical substances, radionuclides and metals. Major methodological breakthroughs in microbial biodegradation have enabled detailed genomic, metagenomic, proteomic, bioinformatic and other high-throughput analyses of environmentally relevant microorganisms providing unprecedented insights into key biodegradative pathways and the ability of microorganisms to adapt to changing environmental conditions." Source: Wikipedia.

Biodegradable products

Polybags Ltd. now manufacture and stock a wide range of eco-friendly green packaging and biodegradable bags to suit your needs and help towards a better environment. These include kitchen waste and refuse bags, bin liners, carrier bags and standard bags developed in Polybags laboratories in conjunction with the Polymer Research Department at the London Metropolitan University.

Why Degradable or Biodegradable?

"Conventional plastics do not break down. Litter and landfill waste take a very long time to degrade. Litter is visual pollution, an eyesore that regulations and educational programs have failed to eliminate. In landfills, not only do ordinary plastics degrade very slowly but also anything contained within them may not reach their full degradation potential. This results in a needless waste of valuable landfill space." Source Biodegradable bags at Packagingknowledge.com

Degradable, Biodegradable and Compostable

Compostable Plastic is plastic which is any plastic "capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site as part of an available program, such that the plastic is not visually distinguishable and breaks down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass, at a rate consistent with known compostable materials (e.g. cellulose). and leaves no toxic residue." American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM).

In order for a plastic to be called compostable, three criteria need to be met:

  1. Biodegrade - break down into carbon dioxide, water, biomass at the same rate as cellulose (paper).
  2. Disintegrate - the material is indistinguishable in the compost, that it is not visible and needs to be screened out.
  3. Eco-toxicity - the biodegradation does not produce any toxic material and the compost can support plant growth.

Biodegradable Plastic

Biodegradable Plastic is plastic which will degrade from the action of naturally occurring microorganism, such as bacteria, fungi etc. over a period of time. Note, that there is no requirement for leaving "no toxic residue", and as well as no requirement for the time it needs to take to biodegrade.

To know more about bioplastics please visit the biodegradable bags section of discountbiodegradablebags.com

Degradable Plastic

Degradable Plastic is plastic which will undergo a significant change in its chemical structure under specific environmental conditions resulting in a loss of some properties. Please note that there is no requirement that the plastic has to be degrade from the action of "naturally occurring microorganism" or any of the other criteria required for compostable plastics.

A plastic therefore may be degradable but not biodegradable or it may be biodegradable but not compostable.

Biodegradable or Biodegradeable?

One last note: (some of our domains are actually misspelt!) it is very common to misspell biodegradable as biodegradeable and the same happens with degradable as degradeable. In fact when written down the word biodegradable often looks like an incorrect spelling and has been known to be corrected to biodegradeable by some overzealous and missinformed editors.