Waste is a huge issue in the way we are operating on earth, but inspired by the natural cycles new alternatives have come up, such as degrading the resources. This can be done in many ways, some with positive impacts on the environment, others with less.
Also in the fashion industry there are lots of innovations happening when it comes to textile waste and it’s lifecycle. We might have seen the latest jeans that the German brand CLOSED launched, claiming to be 100% biodegradable. In the near future we will be seeing a lot more of these types of products, but do we really understand why they are being created? And what does biodegradable mean anyway?
So let’s start there. Did you know that compostable and biodegradable goods are two different things? Groundbreaking, right? All compostable items are biodegradable, but not all biodegradable products are compostable.These misconceptions are creating a lot of confusion when it comes to promoting green products, so today we are talking about how these concepts really work.
When we refer to a product as biodegradable, it means that it can be broken down into smaller pieces, or even fully degrade, but under specific requirements of heat, pressure, water, oxygen, and microorganisms, which in most cases can’t be done without expert supervision and technology. It may take some months up to decades to decompose.
Instead when we talk about compostable goods, we refer to organic materials that when decomposed create nutrition for the soil called humus. This process can happen within a couple of months and can even be done from the comfort of your house, as the degradation is done by the natural environment, so no human intervention is needed!
We must not confuse biodegradable or compostable with bio-based materials, as these last ones are “products or materials wholly or partly derived from biomass, such as plants, trees or animals’’. In order to create these products or materials, the biomass needs to go through some physical, chemical or biological treatments, for example for extra durability or water resistance. Nevertheless bio-based materials can be compostable or biodegradable, but it’s not a certainty.
Both biodegradability and compostability take a lot of responsibility and information from the consumer side to be executed correctly. So are you thinking of including biodegradable or compostable materials into your product range? That’s amazing! Just remember to include plenty of practical information for the client so that they can take the steps needed to achieve its correct final use.