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Biodegradable Pots


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Confusion between compostable, biodegradable and biobased

Growers are more and more often looking for sustainable and environmentally friendly products and materials. Words that often come up here are biodegradable, compostable and biobased. The terms are very similar and can sometimes be confusing. Below you will find a short explanation.


You can call a material biodegradable if fungi and bacteria can be decomposed in a biodegradable way. The amount of time it takes to decompose depends on the time and circumstances. For example, wood, cork and cotton can take years to decompose completely, despite the fact that they are biodegradable.


Compostable means that a material can be decomposed by at least 90% within 6 weeks in an industrial composting installation. A good example of this is material which is made from starch.


Biobased material is material that is made from renewable raw materials. Currently these are mainly raw materials such as corn, potato, sugar, lactic acid or tapioca root. In the future, however, this will also be the case for waste streams and residual materials. However, biobased is not always biodegradable or compostable. An example of biobased is PLA plastic, a plastic made from sugar.

The name biobased is therefore based on the origin of the material and not on the way in which the material ends up in the chain. Whether a biological product is called biodegradable or compostable depends on the amount of time it takes for the material to be completely decomposed. If this is less than 12 weeks, the material is compostable and if it takes longer, we call it biodegradable.

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