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A biodegradable material is NOT necessarily compostable.
A compostable material is always biodegradable.

Biodegradable refers to the ability of a substance to break down into small enough parts so that microorganisms can consume it. Biodegradable products break down naturally when placed in a land fill, if given enough time. “Bio” meaning “life”, “degrade” meaning to break down, and “able” of course meaning that it can happen.


  • Breaks down into smaller sized pieces
  • Requires heat, water oxygen and micro organisms but may never fully break down
  • May take decades to disappear
  • Plastic biodegrade into smaller pieces of plastic over a longer period of time

Compostable refers to the ability of a microbes to break down materials. Products that compost leaves no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue and generally help improve the soil. Composting is the process of recycling organic waste so that it can eventually be reused.


  • Breaks down into non-toxic components
  • Requires heat, water, oxygen and micro organisms to fully break down
  • Breaks down completely and does not harm plant growth
  • Bio based materials break down faster as long as the right condition are met
As the name implies, corn starch compostable are made from corn starch. the starch is converted into a polymer, the main ingredient in materials that have a plastic-like feel. The plastics can be clear or opaque, soft or hard. A kind of acid called polylactic acid (PLA) is made from the corn starch. This is why corn starch biocompostables are sometimes called PLA plastics.