What’s the difference between compostable and biodegradable packaging?
There are a few differences, but first it helps to explain the different types of biodegradable packaging, which can be either plant-based or oil-based.
Oil-based biodegradable packaging
- Made in the same way as plastic, with additional chemicals added to make it degrade when it's exposed to the right conditions.
- It breaks down into small plastic fragments (microplastics) at the end of its life and can't naturally return to the environment.
- It cannot be recycled with mainstream plastics due to the chemicals that have been added.
- Closer to non-recyclable plastic packaging than compostable packaging.
Plant-based biodegradable packaging
- Similar to compostable packaging, and the only big difference is the time it takes for the packaging to break down.
- Certified compostable packaging breaks down in about six months, while biodegradable packaging takes longer, typically well over a year.