Compostable products are similar to biodegradable products because they are both intended to return to the earth safely. Learn here about biodegradable vs compostable packaging and where they are useful.


Comparing Biodegradable vs. Compostable Plastics and Their Uses

Comparing Biodegradable vs. Compostable Plastics and Their Uses

4/4/2021 / Food Packaging

Several packaging products advertise themselves to be composed of environmentally friendly “biodegradable” and “compostable” materials. However, these are two different terms with very specific meanings. This article discusses the difference between biodegradable and compostable packaging, their effects on the environment, and where they are useful.

What does biodegradable mean?

The capacity of materials to break down and return to nature is referred to as biodegradable. To be considered biodegradable, packaging goods or materials must fully break down and decompose into natural elements within a limited time after disposal – usually within a year. The capability of materials to biodegrade inside landfills can minimize waste buildup, making the atmosphere safer, cleaner, and healthier. Contrary to most plastics, certain types of plastics are termed biodegradable because they can actually break down and decompose.

What does compostable mean?

Compostable and biodegradable materials are similar in the manner that both aim to return to the earth safely. However, compostable products go one step further by supplying nutrients to the earth until they have properly decomposed. Compost piles are designated locations with specific conditions based on wind, sunshine, drainage, and several other factors. Compostable materials have specific composting requirements, while biodegradable materials are designed to break down in landfills.

Biodegradable vs Compostable

Consider biodegradable as an umbrella word and compostable being defined within it when trying to differentiate the two terms. The main distinction between compostable and biodegradable products is that compostable products need a special environment to decompose, while biodegradable products decompose naturally. Composting is usually a faster option, but only under the right circumstances. These products are safer for the environment than plastic products, which can take hundreds of years to disintegrate. Although biodegradable products apply to any content that decomposes in the atmosphere, compostable goods are organic matter that decomposes, with the end product having various applications like fertilizing and improving soil health. Compostable products also typically do not leave harmful residue because they are already organic.

Biodegradable vs. Compostable Goods: What to Look for on the Labels

  1. The Compostable Label

    The Federal Trade Commission [FTC] needs organizations and companies to label their goods as compostable if any materials in the product can break down into or become a part of accessible compost (e.g., soil conditioning material, mulch) in a safe and timely manner as well as in a suitable composting program or home compost system.

  2. The Biodegradable Label

    The FTC claimed that goods could completely decompose within a year of disposal when it comes to biodegradability claims. Companies need to obtain certification from the Biodegradable Products Institute [BPI] to substantiate their argument further that they bring compostable products. While most biodegradable items cannot be composted, they are still very beneficial to the environment.


Typically, biodegradable plastics are used to make disposable items such as packaging, shopping bags, food containers, crockery, cutlery, etc. Biodegradable plastics are capable of being used in place of conventional plastics in many ways.

Compostable packaging products can also be used in several places, including primary packaging, carrier bags, cutlery, and bags to collect biowaste separately.

Ecorasa provides a variety of environmentally friendly packaging options. Our products include clamshell lunchboxes, cutlery items, straws, and more. Our oxo-biodegradable additive degrades the plastic, enabling it to decompose back into the soil. Get in touch with Ecorasa right away!



A group of young-minded socio-preneurs who not only care about the environment but also like to eat, and are obsessed with a healthy lifestyle. Holistic healthy living solutions motivate them to build ecorasa, biodegradable, environmentally friendly F&B packaging that has been tested and certified both internationally and locally.

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