The Misunderstood Difference Between Compostable & Biodegradable

Many plastic alternative supplies – made from Polylactic acid (PLA) - use the terms “compostable” and “biodegradable” interchangeably, but they are not the same.

Compostable products require optimal conditions - involving heat, water and oxygen - to exist before biodegradation can occur, and this often requires human intervention of some kind. It is important to recognize that the heat conditions required for compostable plastics (PLA) are rarely met with backyard composting (140 F), which means these plastics require municipal or commercial composting facilities in order to be properly composted.

Biodegradable products can be decomposed by naturally occurring biological processes without any human interference, although the degradation time depends on the material. Biodegradable plastics often end up in landfills in communities where no municipal or commercial composting facilities are available, and these “biodegradable” plastics will not degrade as the oxygen and heat requirements are too low. In other words, biodegradable plastics (PLA) offer no advantage to regular plastics if they cannot be properly composted. And as mentioned above, your backyard compost doesn’t get hot enough to decompose these types of plastic, either.

Unlike single use plastic alternatives made from Polylactic acid (PLA), all Saigon Forest products are sourced from 100% organic material that will easily and naturally compost in your home garden compost pile, through your municipal composting facility or biodegrade naturally in your local landfill.