What's the difference between biodegradable and compostable?

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Since our launch in June (my that’s flown by), we’ve been contacted by scores of eager parents.

And we’ve been sincerely bowled over by just how many of you want to do the best thing for your planet, as well as for your families. 

Among the messages of support for our eco mission, many of you have asked us to explain the difference between compostable and biodegradable, so – in response – our handy guide breaks it down for you... 

What we mean by biodegradable

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Well, in simple terms, if something is biodegradable it can be broken down into smaller pieces and will eventually return to nature.

But there’s the catch. Most things can actually biodegrade over time – even plastic. It is how long items take to breakdown, and the process this follows, that you should be most interested in.

Plastics can take hundreds of years to biodegrade. As they reduce, they can form smaller microplastics and release other toxic material. Baby wipes containing plastic can take up to 100 years to biodegrade and can harm wildlife, our oceans and waterways as they do so.

Pura wipes biodegrade in a matter of weeks and contain no harmful plastic or further toxic materials.  

What we mean by compostable

You may have heard of (or perhaps even created) a compost heap – a mound of kitchen and garden waste that can be used as nurturing compost for your plants.

While biodegradable materials can decompose within landfills, compostable materials require special composting conditions.

For a product to be labelled as compostable – like Pura’s wipes are – it must be officially certified as being capable of breaking downn a defined period of time, under “specified conditions of temperature and moisture”.

Some eco alternatives to traditional plastics, such as the material used in compostable coffee cupseed high levels of heat, water, oxygen and micro-organisms to fully degrade and they are therefore generally not home compostable and will only compost under industrial conditions.

Pura wipes are TUV Austria certified as home compostable so do not need to be composted industrially. Exactly how long it takes our wipes to compost via your home composting system does depend on the specific conditions in your compost heap or bin.

In independent scientific tests our wipes were found to disintegrate within six weeks in a typical home composting environment.

Is it safe to throw Pura wipe in the general waste?

Yes! As Pura’s wipes are 100% plastic-free and made from plant fibres, water, organic aloe vera and little else, our wipes biodegrade quickly, much faster than wipes containing plastic so therefore won’t add to the plastic waste problems in our landfill. 

Of course, we also offer our Water UK certified Fine-to-Flush, flushable wipes, which are totally safe to pop down the toilet after use. To find out more about our eco-friendly, plastic-free flushables, read our blog on the subject here. 

 We love to hear from our customers. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!


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