Compostable, Biodegradable Or Recyclable?

Three words I’m sure we’ve all heard but do we know what they actually mean?

Let’s start with, Compostable

What’s the first thing you think of? Personally, I can just picture a big plastic container at the bottom of my Grandparents garden where my Nanna would put the potato peelings.

So what was happening in that big bucket at the bottom of the path? Adding certain ‘organic matter’ like those peelings all together in ideal ‘composting conditions’ starts a process that leaves a soil conditioner rich in nutrients.

So anything can go in a compost bin?

No, very important that I didn’t know is its not for all food/animal/plant products…

It’s a big tick for:
  • vegetable peelings
  • fruit waste
  • teabags
  • plant prunings
  • grass cuttings
  • cardboard egg boxes
  • scrunched up paper
  • fallen leaves
But it’s a big cross for these:
  • Meat, fish, egg or poultry scraps (odour problems and pests)
  • Dairy products (odour problems and pests)
  • Fats, grease, lard or oils (odour problems and pests)
  • Coal or charcoal ash (contains substances harmful to plants)
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants (diseases or insects might spread)
So why should I bother with composting?
  • Reduces your volume of trash! I’m a huge fan avoiding the bin if possible and this is so easy!
  • The compost produces a nutrient rich liquid that can be used to water/ feed the soil used for plants, flowers and when growing your own vegetables.  Research shows that compost enhances the ability of tomatoes and other vegetables to stand up to common diseases and may improve their flavour and nutrition.
Right, I’m ready to compost- how do I get started?

Fill your backyard compost bin with a 6-inch layer of “brown” matter and a 2- to 3-inch layer of “green” matter.

I have invested in a small compost caddy for my kitchen with compostable bin liners for my ‘green matter’

Then my ‘brown’ layers are made up of cardboard, paper, egg shells and leaves.

Add some water till its damp, but not soaking wet. Every now and then give it a turn to get the process working faster and keep adding those ‘brown’ and ‘green’ layers. Et voila, compost for planting or use the liquid created to water your plants, flowers and growing your own vegetables/fruit.

It is here I need to remind you that if you buy compostable products, firstly, a huge green thumbs up, but in order for that item to compost it needs those special conditions!

Our bamboo toothbrushes, bamboo cotton buds and vegan dental floss are all compostable so start a little caddy and compost like a boss!
Secondly, Let’s Talk Biodegradable

There are a lot of similarities between compostable and biodegradable materials as they are both intended to return to the earth safely. BUT biodegradable materials are designed to break down within landfills, compostable materials require special composting conditions (above).

Although biodegradable materials return to nature and can disappear completely, they sometimes leave behind metal residue. Some biodegradable plastics break down into smaller pieces but never actually disappear.

Last but not least is Recyclable

Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects.

Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials filling up our landfills.

Recycling means we won’t be buying new, so all the stages of production are eliminated or at least reduced. This includes the energy needed and pollution during production and transporting is no longer necessary.

Recycling isn’t all its cracked up to be….

Especially when it comes to plastic recycling.

The truth is, plastic recycling has been broken since it began. Globally, only 9% of the plastic we’ve ever produced has been recycled. The other 91% has ended up in landfills or incinerated or scattered throughout the environment, including in huge floating islands in the ocean partly composed or plastic by-products from the manufacturing process.

The best thing is to simply do without plastic and choose to reuse or…

Why not try… Upcycling

There are soooo many recycling ideas and upcycling options! These are what we’ve got up to recently:

  • Yogurt Pots for Painting
  • Old Bedding and Towels for Pets
  • Toilet Roll Bird Feeder
  • Glass Jars for Food Storage
  • Scrap materials for facemasks

Pintrest has hundreds of ideas so if you give one a go, share it with us on Facebook and /or Instagram!

So now you’ve got a better understanding of these buzz words, hopefully you’ve also got a better understanding of why they are so important!

If you’ve been inspired don’t forget to share with us or get in contact with any questions!

2 Comments on “Compostable, Biodegradable Or Recyclable?

  1. Pingback: Our Eco-Friendly Home Day 7-12

  2. Pingback: Trash Audit – What, Why and How to Get Started

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: