One of the latest environmental trends is the rise of interest in biodegradable products. These products are made from natural resources that are considered "waste" by our society. Yet they offer great benefits to the environment and to those who create them. These products have become a way to help those who are concerned about their impact on the environment and to those who wish to create a better future for this world. This new attitude toward these products is starting to spread into other areas of society and is bringing with it new ideas about how we can all help our planet and preserve our natural resources for future generations.
There are many different ways that biodegradable products decompose. They all come from the same natural sources--water, wind, sunlight, and compost. Biodegradable materials are plastics which can decompose due to the action of various living organisms, most often microbes, into organic solids, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. Biodegradable products are most commonly made from natural organic materials, such as fallen trees and leaves, honeycombs, decomposed fertilizers, agricultural wastes, animal meat, fats, dairy products, and other forms of household waste. These products are considered comfortable because they break down into nutrients for the soil or for recycling.
Because biodegradable products cannot be broken down by insects, fungi, or bacteria, their decomposition tends to occur at a slower rate than traditional methods. This slower rate of decomposition is what allows them to degrade slowly and over time, release their natural elements and nutrients back into the soil or into the air. In the natural world, this happens all of the time, but in a human-created environment, it can take centuries to break down even a small amount of waste, let alone the billions upon millions we produce each year.
So how can biodegradable products break down as fast as composting? They can break down slowly using their own natural processes. The decomposing matter breaks down into smaller particles before breaking down further, creating carbon dioxide and heat. The heat from this process is what heats up the soil or the air, helping plants grow more quickly and in places that they would not have grown as fast in before. Even though this may not seem like a very eco-friendly thing to do for some, it is a method many people agree is better than using traditional means, which tend to pollute the air and release chemicals into the soil.
Aside from being a method of recycling and reducing the amount of garbage that ends up in our landfills, biodegradable products are also a great way to keep food items from going bad before they rot and break down in our landfills. It has been estimated that every year we throw away 20 pounds of food, but only a few of those products can be used in another way, such as composting. Since most food containers are made of polyethylene and other man made materials, most of the food that leaks out of them will sit in our landfills for years, before finally rotting away into a black, smelly mess. With biodegradable products such as Ziploc bags, food that will otherwise sit in a landfill can be eaten immediately and safely.
Another great reason why biodegradable products are better than composting is because they are much easier on the environment. It can take weeks or even months for compost to break down completely and by using biodegradable material we reduce the amount of time that this process takes. Biodegradable bags can be washed and reused, and they are 100% bio-degradable, meaning that they can be eaten and used by future generations without any negative effect on the environment. There is no sense in throwing away food, or making it harder for future generations by filling up landfills with garbage. By using biodegradable products, you are helping the planet, reducing your own waste, and reducing the number of pounds that landfills hold.