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 technically, almost 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”.
Here at Good Start Packaging, we source and sell sustainable packaging that is BPI Certified and meets FDA and ASTM-D6400 standards.  Compostable products like fiber food containers, bioplastic PLA Cups and paper coffee cups with PLA linings will all compost in a few months, and reduce single-use plastics in landfills.