So, you have been considering taking the plunge into biodegradable products to help the environment. You have done the research on which products you can buy, and which ones will make the biggest impact. What other things should you be considering when making this lifestyle change?
You might not consider this, but there is a proper way to dispose of biodegradable products to help minimize their impact on the environment.
What is a Biodegradable Product?
Simply put, a biodegradable product is one that will break down from naturally occurring microorganisms and become compounds that are found in nature (StanfordMag.org).
Each country sets their own standard for what they consider to be a “biodegradable” product. In the United States, this is set by the American Society for Testing and Materials. In the US, for something to be considered biodegradable, 60% of the item must be “broken down within 180 days in a commercial composting facility.”
Unfortunately, the time it takes for any material to break down over time depends heavily on the environment it is disposed of in. This means that any product, whether it is technically biodegradable or not, may break down much more slowly if it is not properly disposed of.
How to Dispose of Biodegradable Products
There are a few options when disposing of biodegradable products. The one thing that stands true for all biodegradable products though is they cannot be recycled. Biodegradable products can actually mess up the process of the Non-Biodegradable recycling process (EnviroBites.org).
What Happens If You Throw Away Biodegradable Products?
The easiest, but not the most ideal solution, would be to throw your biodegradable products in the garbage. Although it can take years to break down in a landfill, biodegradable materials will eventually break down, unlike non-biodegradable products.
Composting Biodegradable Products
One of the most sustainable options would be to compost your products. Rather you choose to compost at home with an outdoor pile, electric composter, or tumbler in your backyard, there are several solutions to composting on your own. For more tips on how to compost at home, read the beyondGREEN blog.
You could even find a local composting facility, and some local areas have biodegradable bins for dumping as well.
Keep in mind that products that are labeled as biodegradable are not necessarily always compostable. Educate yourself on products before you purchase them and learn the best way to dispose of them properly.
Why Should I Use Biodegradable Products?
Biodegradable and compostable products can make a dramatic difference to our environment. If every person were to make the change over the course of years, we could see a decrease in the size of our landfills. Especially if more people made the choice to start a composting pile at home.