Compostable vs. Biodegradable: Definitions, Differences, And Applications In Environmental Protection

Compostable and Biodegradable are two terms commonly used to describe a material’s ability to decompose. However, many people still do not understand the difference between these two concepts, leading to confusion and misuse. In this article, EQUO will help you better understand the difference between Compostable and Biodegradable, and learn more about some applications in the production of biodegradable products to protect the environment!

1. Definition

In the fight against plastic pollution and effective waste management, Compostable and Biodegradable are becoming promising solutions. But really, what are Compostable and Biodegradable and why are they important?

1.1. What is Compostable?

Compostable means converting organic matter into compost. This process takes place biologically, creating CO2, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass. The decomposition rate is compatible with other organic materials, ensuring that no residue is left behind that is harmful to the environment.

This is a method of treating organic waste (such as leftover food, vegetables, tea grounds, coffee grounds, sugarcane bagasse, etc.) in ventilated conditions. This process creates a finished product that is an organic fertilizer, rich in nutrients (carbon, nitrogen), and suitable for fertilizing plants.

Organic waste can be composted into fertilizer or processed into enzyme/microbial products to make the surface cleaner, dishwashing liquid, soap, etc

1.2. What is Biodegradable?

Biodegradable is the process by which microorganisms transform plastic into natural components. Enzymes secreted by microorganisms process the complex structure of plastic molecules, turning them into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).

However, this process happens quite slowly. To promote the speed and efficiency of enzymes, scientists have created biologically active additives. Thanks to that, the decomposition process of plastic happens more quickly, creating natural products such as CO2, H2O, and biomass in a reasonable amount of time.

Source: Internet

Thus, Compostable and Biodegradable are not just simple concepts but also practical solutions for minimizing human impact on the environment. Through these self-decomposition processes, we not only turn waste into a source of recycled fertilizer but also contribute to building a green and sustainable future.

2. Distinguish between Compostable and Biodegradable

When it comes to Compostable and Biodegradable, confusion between these two concepts often causes misunderstandings about decomposition ability and impact on the environment. Together we will learn more about the important differences between Compostable and Biodegradable, from decomposition time, and decomposition ability, to the ideal environment for this process.

2.1. Decomposition time

Compostable: Decomposes quickly under standard composting conditions (usually 90 – 180 days).

Biodegradable: Decomposes more slowly, and can take years or even decades in natural environments.

2.2. Decomposition products

Compostable: Completely decomposes into organic fertilizer, providing nutrients for plants.

Biodegradable: Decomposes into simple compounds such as CO2, water, and microbial biomass, but does not necessarily form organic humus.

2.3. Decomposition environment

Compostable: Decomposes best in a specialized composting environment, with controlled temperature, humidity, and oxygen.

Biodegradable: Decomposes in many different environments, including natural environments such as soil, water, or composting environments.

Below is a detailed comparison table of the two concepts Compostable and Biodegradable:

DefineDecompose into compostDecomposes into natural components
Decomposition timeFaster (usually from 90 days to several months)Slower (many years)
DegradabilityAbsolutely, create organic humusNot completely, maybe in pieces
Decomposition productsCompost (organic fertilizer)Simple compounds (CO2, water, microbial biomass)
Decomposition environmentControlled composting conditions (temperature, humidity, oxygen)Natural environment (may or may not be controlled)
ExamplesBanana peels, bean shells, leftovers, etc.Bioplastic bags, wood, food containers made from sugarcane bagasse, coffee grounds, etc.

3. Benefits of using compostable products

Using compostable products brings many great benefits to the environment and community:

3.1. Minimize solid waste

Solid waste is a burning problem affecting the world. According to estimates, each year the world generates more than 2 billion tons of solid waste. Compostable products will decompose into natural components in the environment, without creating long-term solid waste.

Source: Internet

3.2. Protect and enhance environmental sustainability

Solid waste, especially plastic waste, causes serious environmental pollution, affecting soil, water, and air.

Compostable products contribute to environmental protection by:

  • Minimize the amount of solid waste discharged into the environment.
  • Limit soil, water, and air pollution.
  • Protect ecosystems and biodiversity.

Source: Internet

Every action, no matter how small, can make a huge difference in protecting our blue planet. Be a smart and responsible consumer, and join hands in building a waste-free world, where compostable and biodegradable are not just words but concrete actions that benefit the environment and the environment for ourselves.

4. Challenges when using compostable products

Despite the many benefits, using compostable products still faces some challenges:

4.1. The cost is higher than traditional products

The cost of producing compostable products is higher due to the use of special materials and more complex production processes. This makes the selling price of compostable products higher than traditional products, making it difficult for consumers to access.

Source: Internet

4.2. Composting infrastructure is not yet developed

Some compostable products need special treatment from composting facilities, which is not widely developed, especially in rural areas. The lack of a compostable waste collection and treatment system makes the use of compostable products inconvenient.

4.3. Consumer awareness is limited

Many consumers do not clearly understand the benefits and how to use compostable products. Lack of information and propaganda makes consumers hesitant to use new products.

Source: Internet

Using biodegradable products is an essential solution to protect the environment. Addressing the challenges will help promote more widespread use of biodegradable products, contributing to environmental protection and sustainable development.

5. Application for production of compostable products

Compostable products are increasingly widely used in many fields, contributing to effective environmental protection. Here are some typical examples:

5.1. Food containers

Currently, on the market there are many types of compostable food containers with a variety of designs, sizes, and prices. Consumers can easily choose products that suit their needs.

EQUO’s food containers, crafted from 100% sugarcane bagasse, present a sustainable alternative. Not only are they durable and flexible for packaging, but they are also breathable, waterproof, and boast the remarkable ability to decompose entirely in the natural environment within approximately 6 months

5.2. Compostable Straws

All EQUO compostable straw products are made from plant-based ingredients such as rice, grass, sugarcane bagasse, coffee grounds, coconut, etc., and are 100% free of plastic or other toxic chemicals. These straws can completely decompose in the environment in 3-6 months, not only protecting the environment but also ensuring consumer safety, suitable for all types of drinks. And EQUO is proud to provide all of the above solutions to replace traditional plastic straws, contributing to reducing the amount of inorganic waste, especially plastic straws, which can take several hundred years to completely decompose. .

  • Grass straws: Made from grass, with natural green color, is an environmentally friendly solution.
  • Rice straws: Manufactured from 100% rice starch and tapioca starch. Colored from vegetable juice and biodegradable, it is safe for health.
  • Coffee straws: Made from coffee grounds, completely plastic-free, not only environmentally friendly but also have the characteristic aroma of coffee.
  • Sugarcane straws: Made from sugarcane bagasse, has a light sweet aroma, biodegradable, and does not change the flavor of the drink.
  • Coconut straws: Manufactured from 100% fermented coconut water, it has good elasticity, insoluble in water.

To refer to detailed information on the above products you can visit:


5.3. Utensils

EQUO utensils including knives, spoons, and forks, are products made from a variety of materials such as sugarcane bagasse, coffee grounds, and wood. These are natural and completely compostable, making them ideal for those seeking an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic products.

In the journey towards a sustainable future, understanding and properly applying concepts such as compostable and biodegradable is vital. This article has provided insight into these two terms, helping us differentiate and use them effectively in everyday life. EQUO hopes that, through shared knowledge, each of us will become true warriors in the fight against pollution and environmental protection. Let’s create a greener – cleaner – more beautiful future together.

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