After defining biodegradation and comparing the process to composting, a recap of what has been discussed will draw us into a conclusion that solid waste management’s initial recommendation of segregating garbage into biodegradables and non-biodegradables was not sufficient to address waste disposition problems. Although some of the non-biodegradables were reclaimed, repurposed or recycled, certain environmental problems stemmed from biodegradation as it produces carbon dioxide.
As carbon dioxide is essential to plant life, composting became the recommended waste treatment process in households and in municipal levels. However, as more sophisticated methods of testing processes were developed, it revealed that not all biodegradable wastes are fit for composting. The time and condition it takes for most biodegradables vary; hence local solid waste management units have to spend considerable amounts just to segregate biodegradables into those that are fit for composting and those that are not. In addition, their facilities have to be outfitted with composting processors that can immediately convert biodegradables into compost material.
Based on all that transpired, it appears that the main issue here is that local government units are spending funds that could be directed elsewhere, instead using them to manage a continuous flow of biodegradables. It seems that the only solution left for solid waste management is total waste reduction and elimination.
During the recent Earth Day celebration, the National Solid Waste Management Association, a for-profit trade association of North American professionals, along with other waste management companies, vowed to achieve zero-waste by investing more on technology.
Perhaps if more consumers are aware of this problem, then they can contribute in their own way to eliminate such wastes by totally eliminating biodegradables from their shopping lists. Hence, there will be less demand for new technologies. In view of this, you may want to check on the Environmental Protective Agency’s list of compostable and non-compostable organic materials.
Now that you know the answer to the query "What does biodegradable mean?", it would be best if you know what are the compostable consumer products. They can be checked with the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) by referring to their Directory of Certified Compostable Products. In addition, products labeled as “compostable" should bear the BPI Logo.