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Biodegradable Product Facts, Including a CellPhone

Updated on December 1, 2011

Biodegradable Product Facts, Including a Cell Phone

Is the biodegradable product in your shopping cart really biodegradable? Does the product really break down as the manufacturer claims? Can a cell phone be biodegradable? (see number 6) Even if it is labeled biodegradable, how long it takes to break down is also important.

Following are some Q & A about biodegradable products and a list of products:

What is a biodegradable product?

A biodegradable product is supposed to break down quickly and become compostable. When a product becomes compostable it means it is made of organic material that will naturally decompose. The result is a mineral-rich material.

What is the benefit of this compost?

This compost becomes a natural plant-growing medium that is ideal as a soil conditioner for farming and as mulch in the garden. This eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers.

Is there anyway to know for sure if a product is biodegradable?

For 15 years now, there has been reason for skepticism about what is a biodegradable product. This is because products did not always biodegrade as manufacturers claimed or as quickly.

How quickly should the product biodegrade?

The product must degrade at a rate comparable to food scraps, yard trimmings and other compostable products. There should be no large plastic fragments left behind to be screened out.

Well, why shouldn't we remain skeptical?

There are now specifications in existence for what can be labeled as biodegradable. You can check with the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) website or look for the BPI logo. The BPI promotes the use and recovery of biodegradable materials, and thus certifies that a true biodegradable product with a BPI logo complies with strict scientific standards. This logo is being used in the U.S. as well as Japan and Europe.

What products are truly biodegradable?

1 - Tableware Products - Truly biodegradable are often tableware such as plates, bowls, cups and cutlery. The certified tableware is made from corn resin and sugar-cane pulp. Both cold and hot cups, and cup sleeves are made of the same materials. Also available are eco-friendly pots made with bamboo pulp as the primary ingredient. This type of product is often used in cafeterias and colleges.

2 - Water Bottles - Plastic water bottles have been a main source of land-fill. The certified plastic water bottles are made from a biodegradable plastic containing corn-based ingredients.

3 - Trash Bags - Trash bags are often used in in composting programs to reduce the need for washing and keeping bins clean. Biodegradable liners are made from a non-toxic renewable polyester based proprietary resin that is fully compostable in 50-100 days, in an appropriate composting facility. Biodegradable trash bags for the home are also available.

What other products and from what other materials?

4 - Baby wipes - made from water, aloe vera extract and glycerin

5 - Yoga mats - made from pure rubber and jute fabric

A fast growing crop known as kenaf is also being used in biodegradable products. Such as:

6 - A cell phone from Japan - made from corn, potatoes and kenaf - the fast growing commercial crop related to cotton.

For more eco-friendly ideas, including a living roof, see links below:

biodegradable yoga mats
biodegradable yoga mats


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    • TheListLady profile image

      TheListLady 6 years ago from New York City

      Well that's not good FishAreFriends - I hope there is a warning label. Thanks for the information - and good to meet you too!

    • FishAreFriends profile image

      FishAreFriends 6 years ago from Colorado

      I am close to someone who makes biodegradable cups made out of corn at Cargill. They really were biodegradable! But if you put hot drinks in it, it would melt!

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 6 years ago from Georgia

      This information is so even more so. I purchased a biodegradable phone a couple of years ago and I believe the company it came from was Japan. I wonder if it is the same one you refered to here in your hub? Great job!

    • CountryCityWoman profile image

      CountryCityWoman 6 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina

      Good point you made. I remember so many manufacturers saying their products were biodegradable but were vague about how long it takes. If it takes years - it's no good.

      Thanks for the information and I like the idea of the cell phone. Rated up!

    • TheVacationLady profile image

      TheVacationLady 6 years ago from Everywhere

      very interesting!! I have a biodegradable yoga I'm glad you mentioned them! It's so important to look for these options. Great hub. Rated up!

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 6 years ago

      I've learned lots from this hub. It's good to know that more and more products are now biodegradable. Interesting fact on the use of kenaf. Rated useful.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      That's the sneaky part on behalf of manufacturers - they told us it would biodegrade - but would not tell us that it may takes years or decades. That won't do.

      Love the idea of a biodegradable cell phone - will look into it. Cell phones are another big land-fill item.

      Rated up - thanks!