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Biodegradable and Compostable. Whats the big deal?

Biodegradable means that the item can biologically decompose or break down into its natural components.
While compostable items are able to decompose in a shorter time frame (usually 4 - 6 months) with the broken down elements contributing to soil quality.  
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But why is this so important?
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One of the main reasons plastic is so widely used is due its durability. This is a great quality while the item is fulfilling its purpose, but once it hits the dustbin its resilience leads to it keeping its form for decades if not longer.
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Not really worth the single use.
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While some plastics can biodegrade over time, what are they breaking down into and how does this impact the environment?
With a basic plastic shopping bag taking around 20 years to decompose all the way up to a plastic water bottle taking 450 years to decompose. We have to rethink how we produce and manage our waste.
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Biodegradable options are definitely a step in the right direction, however this comes with some confusion for the consumer. Do you throw this away or do you recycle it?
This all depends on the type of biodegradable material and the availability of recycling plants specialised in handling these items. In most cases this leads to the consumer throwing their biodegradable material in the dustbin meaning it ends up on landfill.
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While this is still far better than standard plastic sitting on landfill for decades it does mean that the incorrect decomposing environment can lead to longer periods of biodegradability and in some cases the release of methane gas.
Let's take biodegradable to the next level and make it Compostable.
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As we now know compostable not only means the item can biologically breakdown in a specific time frame but that its base elements are non-harmful to the environment and can improve soil quality.
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Remember, even compostable items require optimum composting conditions, these include; stable high temperatures, moisture and biological enzymes.
While these conditions are all optimised in an industrial composting facility they can be easily achieved for free within your own garden. Helping to produce compost to improve your soil quality.
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It is important to note that landfills do not have the optimal conditions to breakdown biodegradable or compostable material however even in these nonoptimal conditions these materials will breakdown much faster than standard plastics.
 It takes approximately 50% less energy to produce PLA packaging in comparison to standard plastics.
PLA packaging is made from plant matter, in our case corn starch, which is a renewable resource compared to the non-renewable petroleum based plastic.
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All in all it seems like a move in the right direction on our sustainability journey to move from standard plastic to compostable plant based plastics.
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