What’s the Difference between Biodegradable and Compostable?

By Jonathon Engels. One Green Planet. February 2019

Jonathon Engels, a long-time vegetarian turned vegan, is currently on a trip from Guatemala to Patagonia, volunteering on organic farms all the way down. In Costa Rica, he officially gave up cheese after actually milking a goat, only to discover—happy life or not—the goat kind of hated it. 

With commercialism becoming more involved in our compost these days, choosing what can and cannot go into the backyard bin is becoming more confounding. The simple terminology of compostable and biodegradable have developed tiers of meaning and a deliberate diluting of what they actually are. We are given “compostable” cups that are best suited for the trash can and “biodegradable” packaging that lasts years. Because these terms are now marketable, the definitions commonly associated with them have been blurred.

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