A biodegradable material is not always necessarily compostable, but a compostable material is always biodegradable!
We live in a throw-away culture where single use plastics are used for only 15 minutes before it gets thrown away into landfill for 450 years.
Therefore, it is important for us to understand the difference between "biodegradable" and "compostable" since they are not the same and not interchangeable.
The European Standard EN 13432 lays down criteria for what can or cannot be described as compostable and biodegradable.
- Biodegrability: chemical breakdown of materials into CO2, water and inorganic compounds (at least 90% of the materials have to be broken down by biological action within 6 months).
- Compostability: undergoes degradation by biological processes during composting to yield CO2, water, inorganic compounds and biomass at a rate consistent with other compostable materials and leaves no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue.