The adjective biodegradable qualifies those materials, natural or synthetic, that decompose by the action of common biological agents, generally until they are transformed into simple molecules that are compatible with life, such as water and carbon dioxide. This means that biodegradable materials are all those that can be destroyed by microorganisms such as insects, bacteria or fungi.
Advantages of biodegradable products
That a product for daily use is biodegradable is considered highly positive for the conservation of the environment, because when it decomposes or breaks down, many nutrients are recycled.
At the same time, the product does not accumulate as such and this reduces the probability that it will become a source of persistent garbage, as it happens with plastic bottles or nylon bags, for example, which are usually seen in some rivers and lakes.
These not only spoil the landscape but alter the ecological balance of natural areas and can become a threat to birds or fish.
On some occasions, however, the intermediate degradation products are still toxic, sometimes even more toxic than the original molecule. This happens, for example, with some pesticides that are used to control agricultural pests.
There is an enormous effort at the moment to develop biodegradable materials to replace those that are not, and consumers can greatly contribute in this regard through our daily choices.
Promotion of biodegradable products
More and more businesses are delivering their merchandise wrapped in paper and non-plastic bags to the customer, since, the paper is considered biodegradable and traditional plastic is not.
However, some biodegradable plastics that are made from corn or wheat starch have emerged in recent decades; These are used, for example, for waste bags.
It is believed that the degradation of these plastics would require a period of six to twenty-four months, which is much less than with traditional plastic derived from oil.
There is also a material made with rye starch, presented as a granulated substance, which is used to make dishes. These dishes, which are completely biodegradable, are expected to tend to replace today’s disposable plastics (made from petroleum products) on the market.
The automotive industry has also been making serious efforts to develop biodegradable materials to replace non-biodegradable ones. Flax fiber interior car door fillers and bumpers made from vegetable fibers reinforced with biodegradable resin already exist in some countries. Examples of biodegradable materials.
Likewise, plastics made from rye or compressed fibers have already been patented.
Examples of biodegradable materials
- Fruit peels
- Some detergents
- Sugar industry waste
- Wastes from the wine industry
- Fishing industry waste
- Nicotine based and bipesticides
- Soy wax
- Dried tree leaves
- Pigment-based paints extracted from plants such as turmeric
- Pigment-based paints extracted from minerals such as iron