What's the difference between biodegradable and compostable?

While they sound similar, be sure not to mix up biodegradable and compostable!  The main difference is the time it takes for the material to break down, which is an important factor in deciding what to accept into a compost pile. While biodegradable items are any material that breaks down and decomposes in the environment, compostable refers to organic matter that breaks down to become a pile of nutrient-rich soil. If an item is certified compostable,  then it has been tested to completely breakdown, leaving no residues, after 90 days in the heated and microbial conditions of a commercial compost facility. At best, biodegradable means that the product will break down into its constituent components, but this does leave residues. Biodegradable products can also take years (or decades!) to break down, which is a long time to wait!

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1. Where can I purchase compostable bags to line my kitchen container?
2. What can I do with my yard waste?
3. How can I start composting at home?
4. What types of outdoor composting bins are available?
5. What can I put in my outdoor compost bin?
6. What do I need to do to make my outdoor compost better?
7. Is pet waste compostable?
8. What are my other options for composting in Charlottesville, if I can't compost at home?
9. What's the difference between biodegradable and compostable?
10. How do I know if my take-out food container is compostable?
11. Can I use compostable bags when I drop-off my compost?
12. How can I avoid odors from my kitchen container?
13. What else, besides food scraps, can I compost at home?
14. How do I set up my kitchen to start composting?
15. Why should I compost?
16. What kind of compostable bags are used at the City Market?
17. Can I compost meat, eggshells, oils & fats, or compostable plastics at home?
18. How can I avoid fruit flies in my kitchen container?
19. Can brown paper bags be composted?
20. Are pizza boxes compostable?
21. What happens to my food scraps after they get dropped off?
22. What are 'greens' and 'browns'?