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Biodegradable versus compostable. Is there a difference? Chances are you've been using the words "biodegradable" and "compostable" interchangeably. But the fact is, they are quite different. Here's how...

A biodegradable material is not necessarily compostable. A compostable material is always biodegradable. (


When something is biodegradable, it means that the material will eventually break down and return into soil and water.

In order for packaging products or materials to qualify as biodegradable, they must completely break down and decompose into natural elements within a short time after disposal – typically a year or less (Heritage Paper).

Examples of biodegrable materials: corrugated cardboard, paper, rope, orange peels, cotton


When something is compostable, it is similar to biodegradable in that the material is broken down. The difference is that when something is compostable, it provide nutrients to the earth once it breaks down. 

A compost requires the right level of heat, water and oxygen to support microbes and support the breakdown. Products that compost leaves no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue and generally help improve the soil (The Do Something Project).

Examples of compostable materials: food, leaves, grass clippings, tea leaves and bags.

Biodegradable versus Compostable


As manufacturing eco-friendly and sustainable packaging become common practice in the industry, don't forget about your packaging glues.

Want to learn more about our natural, recyclable glues? Contact our team today to discuss your eco-friendly packaging project.

Contact Us about our Eco-Friendly Glues

Topics: eco-adhesives, eco-friendly glue, LD Davis, packaging adhesive, sustainable packaging