Biodegradable and compostable are two different processes mainly because of their certain conditions. Biodegradable is a natural procedure that breaks down biodegradable materials naturally which manifestly is a slow process. On the other hand, compostable products require specific circumstances in order to break down and is a comparatively faster process than biodegradability under the right conditions. The detailed discrepancies on the two techniques are discussed below.
What is biodegradability and it’s requirements?
It is the ability of organic materials and substances to be broken down into simpler compounds with the help of microorganisms and their enzymes. When the process completes, the preliminary organic substances and converted completely into simple inorganic molecules such as water, carbon dioxide, and methane.
Biodegradation is based on carbon and is a completely natural earth’s life cycle. With the assistance of photosynthesis in green plants and algae and the considerable energy of sun, plants grow and nurture absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to synthesize glucose and other food materials. This flow of materials and energy in the cycle passes from plants to herbivores and to carnivorous. When these plants and animals die, the decomposers mainly bacteria and fungi, which persists everywhere in the environment, feed on them through biodegradation thereby closing the cycle.
With the influence of this natural process, organic waste as a result of human activities can also be eliminated through biodegradation with the requirement of a favorable environment in which the procedure can reach its absolute efficiency.
Naturally, all organic wastes require a specific time to degrade depending on the type of material for instance straw or wood would take longer than starch and cellulose. Similarly, biodegradation is slower in cold dry weather than in hot humid environments.
In conclusion, biodegradation strongly depends on the chemical composition of the substances and the environmental conditions in which it would take place which also includes soil because some materials are completely biodegradable in soil which is specifically applicable in mulching.
Composability and it’s conditions.
The environment in which biodegradation occurs consistently and is managed industrially subsists of composting and anaerobic digestion. These systems make it possible to process solid organic trash (which also includes man-made substances such as biodegradable plastic) with the speed of biodegradation which is amplified with these processes. As a result, composting produces mature compost which is used as a fertilizer while anaerobic digestion yields biogas which is a source of energy.
Compatibility is, therefore, the transformation of organic material into compost under the process of composting. The compost is analogous to fertile soil and is used as a fertilizer in the agriculture industry due to its high content of organic substances.
Composting can also be executed at home on a very small scale or at an industrial level. Industrial composting is carried out by obtaining domestic organic wastes (such as egg shells, tea bags, vegetables and fruit peels) and wastes from agricultural processes. Piles of organic matter like waste, animal droppings, sawdust etc produce heat naturally and give off steam. The stages in a compositing structure comprise similarities to these countryside processes. By the action of microorganisms and decomposers in these heaps, nutrients are transformed into simpler organic substances called compost. The industrial manufacturers sanitize and stabilize this product to discard pathogens and decomposing materials. Quality control procedures are performed with a progression of legal requirements before this compost can be sent off to marketing.
Compostability and its use in agriculture plays a vital role in the closing of the environmental cycle and is a simple way of removal of organic wastes from agriculture at a large scale and countryside to an extent.