A product is biodegradable if it can be chemically broken down by the environment. Most often, biodegradable material is organic, but more synthetic materials are being designed to be biodegradable in consideration of the environmental future.
In order for a product to be biodegradable, it merely has to be able to break down naturally during a period of time after the product has been disposed. There is no particular limit to this time period, and (at least in the case of plastics) no requirement that it leave no toxic residues as it breaks down. What should really be considered is what makes a product compostable, as compostable products are required to have a specific time period to break down in. Either 60% of a product’s carbon must break down into carbon dioxide over 180 days with single-polymer plastics or 90% of a product’s carbon must break down into carbon dioxide within 90 days if it is made from mixed-polymer plastics. Compostable products also have to disintegrate easily and not produce any toxic materials when breaking down.
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