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Green Dragon Bytes: How Biodegradable Is It, Actually?

Green Dragon Bytes: How Biodegradable Is It, Actually?

WSB's Nature Studies Teacher Maren Jung talks about composting and biodegradable materials.

I wanted to talk about composting some more. I recently read an article in the New York Times about biodegradable plastics. The interesting thing I was reminded of was that biodegradable does not necessarily mean you can throw it onto your home composting heap, bucket, container etc.

Even if the label says it is compostable read on carefully because it may say “for industrial composter”. Industrial composters use heat, and precisely controlled moisture to shorten composting times, among other things. A lot of plastics made from plants like corn are still plastics, and while the break down faster than conventional plastics they do take long to break down. Paper containers can have plastic liners, or even if they do not, like restaurant containers made from cardboard can still end up in the landfill if you do not take it home to your own compost simply because not all municipalities have composting facilities. Here is the article if you would like to read further:

Maren Jung is the Forest Explorers Director and our Nature Studies Teacher. Learn more about WSB's sustainability initiatives.