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What do "compostable" and "biodegradable" mean?

Compostable means that a product is capable of disintegrating into natural elements in a compost environment, leaving no toxicity in the soil.   This typically must occur in about 90 days.  Some companies advertise their products as merely biodegradable.  This is not necessarily a good thing since nearly everything will biodegrade in 10,000 years!

Beware of misleading product claims using the term “biodegradable”

In California there are strict laws governing the use of the terms “compostable” and “biodegradable” in order to protect consumers.  Some companies try to get around these laws by using language such as “bio based”, “biological”, and “earth-friendly” in their marketing.  We’ve found that many of the disposable tableware products with these misleading labels actually contain mostly traditional petroleum-based plastic.   It is best to look for the words “compostable”, “BPI certified”, or “meets ASTM-D6400 standard”