Biodegradable and compostable... What do they mean? Which one's better?
The answer is not that simple. They're two different things:
🌱 Compostable products will break down into water and biomass in a compost site. They can be thrown together with food waste in your green bin and will break down faster.
🌱 Biodegradable products will break down by natural processes thanks to sunlight, water and air. The process of biodegradation is slower but can speed up if there is more exposure to oxygen or moisture.
Note the difference between the two: biodegradable means it can be broken down by natural processes, while compostable needs a composting facility.
But now let's explore the textile...
We wear textiles every day and they contribute to our environmental footprint. But can textiles be biodegradable?
Yes, textiles are one of the most sustainable materials because they can be both biodegradable and recyclable. Even if at first impression the term "biodegradable t-shirt" makes us imagine us remaining naked, the actual average lifespan of a piece is around 2-3 years.
These textiles are made of materials that can be decomposed by microorganisms or organisms in the soil, such as bacteria and fungi. Beware that not all textiles can be biodegradable.
The textile industry is one of the largest industries in the world. It's also one of the most polluting industries, with non-biodegradable textile dyes being major contributors to water pollution and air pollution (see 8 not-so-nice Fast Fashion impacts).
Fortunately, biodegradable materials don't contribute to these types of pollution. But we must consider also the other treatments done on the textile as the chemicals used to wash it, the print and so on.
So it's better to check if the garment has a GOTS and an oeko-tex certificate that ensures the use of organic materials and safe chemicals.
In this way, we can be sure that we're not polluting nature. 🥳
PS! If you're looking to shop sustainably, be sure that the shop uses also biodegradable packaging.
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